How much exercise you should do depends on your goal: Health or fitness. There is a distinction, says Maria Nardini at the Duke Health & Fitness Center, and the time invested and commitment required for each are actually a bit different.
Your goal: To lower risk factors for illnesses such as cancer and heart disease by reducing excess weight, lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol and triglyceride counts, and improving glucose tolerance
Your plan: Moderate physical activity such as brisk walking for 30 minutes on most days
Try this: If you hate the gym, try dance lessons; if you don’t dance, try a cycling or group hiking club.
Your goal: To reach a level of overall physical fitness, which includes not only a strong heart and lungs, but also strong muscles, flexible joints, and a healthy body weight
Your plan: Moderately intense or intense aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes at least three times a week; eight to 10 strength training exercises (of eight to 10 repetitions each) at least two times a week; stretching exercises every day
Try this: To get more bang for your workout buck, choose the random protocol on the stairclimber, bike, or treadmill and put your towel over the readout so you can’t see what’s coming ahead. That way your body is always adjusting and you’re never in a set routine.
For important checkpoints for your activity routine and tips on when it might be a good idea to see a sports medicine physician, read the full post on DukeHealth.org. Duke Medicine, Go Ask Mom's sponsor, offers health information here every Tuesday.