How much exercise and what type? We look at the current recommendations.
The New Zealand Government’s health website relies on proven science. Here’s a distillation of the facts:
- Adults should be doing at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week. Moderate-intensity exercise is defined as breathing hard but still able to talk (just).
- If possible, adults should add some vigorous exercise for extra health benefits and fitness. This means breathing so hard you can’t talk.
- Older adults should also include three sessions of flexibility and balance activities and two sessions of muscle-strengthening activities every week.
You can’t take muscles for granted
Muscle loss with aging happens to everyone, unless you fight back with strength training. While muscle loss can begin in your 20s, it really picks up speed after the age of 50.
There are two ways to exercise your muscles:
- During aerobic exercise, also called cardio exercise, muscles are used well below their maximum strength capacity. The main object of aerobic exercise is to increase heart strength. The more you exercise, the more efficient your heart becomes, so you can work out harder and longer.
- During anaerobic exercise, muscles are used intensely – close to their maximum strength capacity. When you do this kind of training, tiny tears form in the muscles that help them grow bigger and stronger as they heal. Soreness means there are changes occurring in those muscles.