How much exercise is enough?
Worrying You Don’t Get Enough Exercise Can Cut Lifespan
Thinking about you’re not working out enough can cut short your lifespan, a new study finds.
Researchers at Stanford University looked at data samples from three nationally representative surveys with over 61,000 American adults, which contained info on weight, activity levels, whether one smoked, and one’s assessment of whether they exercised at similar rates to same-aged peers.
Individuals who thought they were less active than other people their age were more likely to die, regardless of health status, body mass index, and so on.
Even when all other variables were constant among a group, those who believed they were lagging behind in physical activity experienced higher rates of mortality.
Most people know that not exercising enough is bad for your health but most people do not know that thinking you are not exercising enough can also harm your health.
This observation was found by examining the respondents over a 21-year period following their initial responses. One sample showed that this belief alone resulted in an astounding 71 percent increase in mortality risk.
Researchers believe that perhaps the biggest phenomenon underlying this finding is the placebo effect. For example, the belief you’re getting a pain medication can activate endogenous opiates in the brain.
The power of the mind cannot be underestimated, particularly when it comes to our well-being.
Feeling like you’re behind can zap your motivation to exercise particularly over time. Where you live and how often your friends work out could also affect this mindset.
Our perceptions about how much exercise we are getting and whether or not we think that exercise is adequate are influenced by many factors other than how much exercise we are actually getting.
For example, if you live in an area where most of your peers are really fit, you might perceive yourself as relatively inactive, even though your exercise may be sufficient. Or if you believe that only running or working out at the gym count as real exercise, you may overlook the exercise you are getting at work or at home cleaning and carrying kids around.
How much should the average adult exercise every day?
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
- Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week.
- Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.
Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of weight machines, your own body weight, resistance tubing, resistance paddles in the water, or activities such as rock climbing.
As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Want to aim even higher? You can achieve more health benefits, including increased weight loss, if you ramp up your exercise to 300 minutes a week.
Reducing sitting time is important, too. The more hours you sit each day, the higher your risk of metabolic problems, even if you achieve the recommended amount of daily physical activity.
Exercise reduces stress. There is no need to worry about exercise. If you can get at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity every day you will help yourself.
If you start comparing yourself to others and what they do this will become a problem.
This is where you generate some unnecessary stress.