Did you know that exercise is preventative medicine? We all need to exercise to help prevent ourselves from diseases like heart attacks, strokes, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, dementia, and depression. So how much exercise do we need for optimal health?
Well, you might be surprised as to how little it actually is. According to Harvard Health, it depends on “isotonic exercise or activities that use large muscle groups in a rhythmic, repetitive fashion”. In other words, you need to be able to boost your heart rate to 70% or 85% or your maximum capability. This can be achieved by 30 minutes of moderate exercise or 15 minutes of intense exercise per day, according to doctors.
Examples of workouts like this include a brisk walk with your dog, a short HIIT workout, a leisurely ride on a bicycle, strength training, etc. As you can see it doesn’t take much. However, remember this is just to maintain. This does not mean losing weight, gaining muscle, etc.
To figure out if you are doing enough each day to maintain optimal health, Harvard Health came up with a rating system called Cardiometabolic Exercise or CME. The CME covers a range of activities, from climbing the stairs in your office building to pushing yourself on an elliptical. The idea is that all of these things will improve your heart, your metabolism, and your health. The goal is to achieve 150 CME each day.
Here are some examples of how some activities rate on the CME list.
- Carpentry (100 CME points): 30 minutes at least, moderate exercise
- Mowing the lawn (200 CME points): 30 minutes at least, intense
- Sexual activity (25 CME points): 15 minutes at least, moderate exercise
- Stair climbing (100 CME points): 10 minutes at least, moderate exercise
- Golfing (145 CME points): 30 minutes at least, pulling clubs
- Biking (200 CME points): 25 minutes at least, intense exercise
- Swimming (230 CME points): 30 minutes at least, moderate exercise
- Walking (130 CME points): 30 minutes at least, moderate exercise
- Yoga (130 CME points): 30 minutes at least, moderate exercise
- Jumping rope (200 CME points): 15 minutes at least, intense exercise
- Washing car by hand (100 CME points): 30 minutes at least, moderate exercise
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