Any physical activity that makes your heart beat a little faster is helpful. If you’ve never tracked your heart rate while exercising, it might be worth a try. For moderate exercise, the recommended goal is around 50-70% of your body’s maximum heart rate. (To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.) Many people will achieve this goal on a brisk walk, Dr. Lewis said.
Estimating your maximum heart rate can help you determine how much you should walk, run, or cycle. But it’s not perfect, as your natural heart rate during exercise may be higher or lower. Also, fitness levels and heart rates among people of the same age can vary, and not all exercise raises your heart rate equally. Consider talking to your doctor before setting your goals.
“Just moving your body in some way is going to help,” Dr. Garber said. “It’s a really important message.”
Focus on overall health, not weight loss.
Many people exercise with the intention of losing weight, but simply increasing physical activity is usually not effective. In a 2011 review of 14 published papers, scientists found that people with larger bodies who did aerobic exercise for at least two hours a week lost an average of just 3.5 pounds over six months. And in a small 2018 clinical trial, women who did high-intensity circuit training three times a week saw no significant weight loss after eight weeks. (They did, however, gain muscle.)
Exercise improves your overall health, and studies suggest it has a bigger effect on lifespan than body type. Regardless of your size, exercise lowers your risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, depression, type 2 diabetes, anxiety and insomnia, said Beth Lewis, a sports and fitness physiologist. exercise at the University of Minnesota.
It’s okay if you can only train on weekends.
I’ve always assumed that the healthiest athletes train almost every day, but research suggests otherwise. In a study published in July, researchers followed more than 350,000 healthy American adults for an average of more than 10 years. They found that people who got at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, over one or two days, were no more likely to die for any reason than those who achieved 150 minutes in shorter bouts. and more frequent. Other studies by Dr. Lee and his colleagues have come to similar conclusions.