An exercise program typically focuses on strengthening:
- Heart and lungs for better endurance
- Skeletal muscles for improved agility
- Speed and bones for increased power
Children and Adolescents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children between the ages of six and 17 should get 60 minutes of exercise daily, including strengthening activities.¹ Activities should strengthen the heart, lungs, muscles and bones. Young children usually do not need to do structured weight training programs, but can increase strength with activities such as climbing, jumping and throwing. Adolescents may begin a more formal strength-training program associated with team sports such as basketball, track and football.
Adults also need activity in their everyday lives. According to the New York Times, 80% of jobs in America are sedentary or require only light activity as compared to jobs in 1960. The decrease in physical activity in the work place closely matches the nation's steady weight gain over the past five decades.²
The CDC recommends that adults should strive to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. This includes muscle strengthening at least two times per week that works all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, shoulders and arms). In fact, as we age, the focus on muscle strengthening should increase!
You can achieve the recommended amount of physical activity with just 30 minutes of activity a day, five days a week. Try ten minute bursts of activity such as:
- A morning walk
- Yoga flow series
- Play time with your children
- Walking a family pet
The best way to get your 30 minutes in per day is whatever becomes habit. Once you realize how much better you feel, you may decide to add more time and intensity to your routine!
¹ Physical Activity Guidelines, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
² Less Active at Work, Americans Have Packed on Pounds, The New York Times