March 6, 2009
How Much Exercise Is Good for Me?
'Know Your Numbers' Series Part 3 -
As we emerge from our hibernation this winter, we may be feeling it is time to shed some of those winter pounds that kept us so warm in the cold. This can be an overwhelming task when it comes to exercise. Many get frustrated from the get-go because they don't know what to do, how much exercise is enough, and because it can be so very tough on your body in the beginning.
The Oswego County Health Department would like to help take some of the anxiety out of beginning a new exercise regime.
“Weight management is an important public health issue,” says Public Health Director Dr. Dennis Norfleet “More than 66 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese. The good news is that you can reduce your risk for chronic diseases with as little as a 2 to 3 percent reduction in excess body weight. This can be obtained from adding some physical activity into your everyday life.”
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things a person can do for their health. It can help control weight; reduce risk of heart disease; reduce risk of type 2 diabetes; reduce risk of some cancers; strengthen bones and muscles; improve mental health and mood; and it can increase one's chances of living longer.
“Exercise will help you improve your ability to carry out daily activities, and if you're an older adult, help prevent falls. These are all good reasons why you should start participating in some regular physical activity,” Dr. Norfleet said.
If you're not sure about becoming active or boosting your level of physical activity because you're afraid of getting hurt, the good news is that moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, is generally safe for most people. Remember starting slowly is best, and if you have medical problems it is best to talk to the doctor before starting anything new.
The CDC recommends that a person get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. This could be 30 minutes for five days a week, or some people prefer to do 60 minutes three times a week.
“According to the CDC, doing 10 minutes of exercise at a time is fine, so you can break up the 30 minutes into short periods during your day,” said Dr. Norfleet. “Some people prefer to do this during their breaks, and lunch hour at work. The CDC also recommends doing strength training twice a week, working all the major muscle groups.”
To lose significant weight, according to the latest recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), adults need at least 250 minutes of exercise per week -- equal to 50 minutes of exercise five days a week. One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. Some people look to burn 500 calories a day through exercise, to burn a pound a week, though a healthy diet can also ramp up your weight loss.
The Health Department will continue its series of articles on “the numbers you need to know” over the next few months. For additional information, contact the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext 3547.
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