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How much exercise do you need to do?

Chris Purcell
May 16, 2024

Staying active regularly is essential for good physical and mental health and wellbeing.  

This is true no matter how young or old you are. But the amount of activity varies, depending on your age.

There is also good evidence to support the role in regular physical activity in the management of chronic pain and also in the management of many chronic lifestyle diseases. 

For adults, here are some of the things that regular physical activity can do:

  • reduce the risk of, or help manage, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • maintain or improve blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels
  • reduce the risk of some cancers
  • prevent unhealthy weight gain and help with weight loss
  • maintain strong muscles and bones
  • create opportunities for socialising and meeting new people
  • help develop and maintain physical and mental wellbeing.

So with the benefits of being physically active now clear, the real question is how much do you need to be doing. 

To start with, before reading these recommendations, it is important to note that anything is better than nothing when it comes to physical activity, so if you are currently not doing any, and these guidelines feel like a lot or too much, then doing some is better than none.  The important thing is just to get started.  

The other important factor from a physiotherapy perspective is that gradual, progressive increases are your best bet to make sure you do not end up with overuse conditions to the tendons or bursas.  I like to use the 10% rule as a good guideline to ensure progress to gradual and gentle on the body.  This means no more than a 10% increase on load and/or volume each week. 

Physical activity recommendations 

Adults should be active most days, preferably every day. Each week, adults should do either:

  • 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity – such as a brisk walk, golf, mowing the lawn or swimming
  • 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity – such as jogging, aerobics, fast cycling, soccer or netball
  • an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities.
  • Strengthening activities should be included for at least 2 of the days per week (this is things such as push ups, squats, resistance training). 

As your trusted healthcare professionals we are well placed to help you put together a physical activity that will work for you.  Our group programs are also a great option to get your dose of strength work and we are seeing an increasing number of our clients do these programs twice per week to make sure they are getting the recommended amount of strength work done each week. 

We are can help put a program together so book yourself in for a review today

Yours in health

Chris from Out of the Box Physiotherapy 

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