Benefits of Physical Activity
Physical activity is one of the best tools we can use to stay healthy, improve our quality of life, and lower our risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. For people who already have a chronic disease, physical activity can help manage these conditions and the complications associated with them. In the United States, 1 in 2 adults live with a chronic disease, and only ½ of adults get the recommended amount of physical activity.
What is great about physical activity is that anything counts as long as we are working hard enough for a long enough duration. There are two types of exercise intensity that will help us get the benefits of physical activity. These two intensities are moderate and vigorous intensity.
Here are some Moderate Physical Activities
Engaging in moderate-intensity physical activity is great for everyone. Especially if you are just getting started with exercise. An easy way to determine if you are engaging in moderate physical activity is the talk test. If you are doing moderate physical activity, you should be able to talk but not sing during the activity. Your breathing and heart rate should also be noticeably faster.
Examples of activities you can do at a moderate intensity include:
- Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
- Water aerobics
- Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour on primarily flat or level terrain without hills
- Tennis (doubles)
- Ballroom dancing
- General gardening
- Actively playing with children
Here are some Vigorous Physical Activities
Engaging in vigorous physical activity you should feel like you are exerting yourself, and it should feel like a challenge. During this type of activity, you shouldn’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
Examples of activities you can do at a vigorous intensity include:
- Race walking, jogging, or running
- Swimming laps
- Tennis (singles)
- Aerobic dancing
- Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster may include hills
- Jumping rope
- Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
- Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
Take action now! Start exploring activities at an intensity that works best for you and get moving. Your mind and body will thank you immediately after.
Written by: Coach Alex