Q & A: How many minutes of exercise do we really need each week?



How many minutes of exercise per week does the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend?


The AHA recommends most people get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity (55%-70% HR max) exercise at least  five days a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity (> 70% HR max) exercise at least 3 days a week.

A recent study in the Journal of Physiology examined the relationship between lifelong exercise habits and arterial stiffening, a hallmark of vascular ageing. The study found that older adults who exercised for > 30 minutes, 4 to 5 days a week, had more compliant (younger) central arteries (e.g. aorta) than patients who exercised less. Furthermore, patients who exercised 2 to 3 times a week had more compliant middle-sized arteries (e.g. carotid artery) than patients who exercised less.


Moderate-intensity activities include brisk walking, water aerobics, cycling less than 10 miles per hour, and strength training.  During moderate intensity activities you should be able to talk but not sing.  Vigorous-intensity activities include running, aerobic dancing, swimming laps, cycling greater than 10 miles per hour, tennis, and high-intensity interval training. During vigorous intensity activities you should not be able say more than a few words.  

Even science agrees, exercise truly is the fountain of youth. Happy training!