Physical activity, mix it up

Moderate and vigorous physical activity are recommended for better health weekly. Mixing these up weekly is important.

Movement that uses energy is simply known as physical activity. There are many forms of physical activity including walking, climbing stairs, gardening and dancing. In order to enjoy the health benefits of physical activity, the intensity should be moderate or vigorous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, moderate physical activity is measured as a five or six in intensity on a scale of zero to ten. Vigorous intensity physical activity is measured as a seven or eight on a scale of zero to ten.

Activities can be considered vigorous, moderate or light depending on how hard you breathe and how fast your heart beats. Light intensity activities include walking at a casual pace, shopping and light household chores. Although you are still moving, light intensity movement should not be counted towards meeting daily recommendations for physical activity. Only moderate and vigorous intensity activities count toward meeting physical activity needs. Vigorous activities give similar health benefits in half the time of moderate activity. You can choose moderate or vigorous activity or mix them both each week.

There are four types of physical activity that are especially beneficial for better health: aerobic, muscle-strengthening, bone-strengthening, and balance and stretching activities.

Aerobic activities make you breathe faster and your heart beat more rapidly. You should be able to talk during moderate aerobic activities but not sing. You should only be able to say a few words without stopping to catch your breath with vigorous activities.

  • Muscle-strengthening activities make your muscles stronger and include push-ups and lifting weights. Working all the different parts of the body is important for balanced strength.
  • Bone-strengthening activities make your bones stronger by producing a force on the bones that promotes growth and strength. These include activities like running and jumping.
  • Balance and stretching activities help to reduce risk of injuries by enhancing stability and flexibility. They include stretching, dancing, yoga and martial arts.

Incorporating different forms of physical activity into a weekly routine helps to increase health, strength and stamina for overall better living. Each activity is important as there are different benefits for each. Concentrate on moderate to vigorous activities as they will count towards your weekly physical activity recommendations.

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