Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One Week, 150 Minutes

I get asked this question all the time: "How much do I really need to exercise?"

My answer always depends on whom I'm talking with and what their goals are.

But after doing some research, I have a better idea of a baseline exercise regime that everyone should be following.

According to the health division of the government, adults should move their bodies for at least 150 minutes a week. And I may regret disclosing this, but...

Pilates does NOT count toward the 150 minutes.

Any moderate to high intensity exercise - like walking, running, Spinning, aerobics - qualifies.

Pilates isn't considered aerobic, thus, it's not going to help your heart. It is, however, a great form of conditioning and, if done correctly, can be quite the strength training workout. Especially if you're exercising on the Reformer. Mat classes don't have nearly as much strength work as Reformer sessions. (There, I've saved my business!)

For more significant health benefits - including weight loss - adults are advised to increase aerobic activity to at least 300 minutes a week. Don't shoot the messenger; I don't make this stuff up!

The recent guidelines also emphasize getting more vigorous activity than a simple stroll after dinner; in other words, you need to break a sweat.

On top of the 300 cardiovascular minutes, you should consider squeezing in some strength training. Lifting weights will boost your metabolism, stave off osteoporosis and, from an aesthetic standpoint, you'll look much more toned. Just a couple of sessions a week - no longer than 30 minutes - can make a world of difference.

Truth be told, I definitely don't get my 300 minutes in. Despite the myth that I work-out constantly because of my profession, the sad truth is that I have to create exercise time just like everyone else. But I do try and walk whenever I can and will often sneak in my own Reformer session between clients. I also really enjoy the energy of a great Spinning class or a long yoga practice. Keeping it varied, I've found, is the key to not getting bored.

300 minutes is a lofty goal. And it can remain just that: a goal; provided that you are at least committed to logging 150 minutes each week for your heart.

Five workouts. 30 minutes each. As my six-year-old would say: "Easy-schmeezy!"

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