New exercise guidelines from AHA and ACSM

The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine and reported in the journal Circulation (Volume 116, page 1094) that:

For all adults over 18:

  • at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week or
  • at least 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity three days a week
  • a mix of the two intensities (for instance, brisk walking for 30 minutes and jogging for 20 minutes twice a week each) as well as short bursts of exercise for 10 minutes each will suffice

Exercise recommendations are the same regardless of age, except what is considered aerobic activity for older people may be less intense depending on a person’s fitness level. The “vigorous-intensity” should be vigorous for you, whatever that is.

The report also recommends that older people perform both strength-training exercises and flexibility exercises at least twice a week as well as balance exercises. The exercise guidelines — which update recommendations issued in 1995 — highlight that the more exercise one engages in, the better the health-protective benefits. Previously, light-intensity activities of daily living, like casual walking and grocery shopping, could be counted toward one’s daily exercise total; now, however, it’s believed that they aren’t performed for a long enough period of time (if less than ten minutes) or at enough intensity to offer the needed benefit.