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Local Expert Series: Physical Activity Guidelines

Categories: Fitness, Well-being

Local Expert Series: Physical Activity Guidelines

By: Dan Curtis, PT, DPT, MTC

My previous post defined physical activity and exercise.  It also referenced recommendations for physical activity from organizations such as the World Health Organization.  These guidelines can assist an individual in determining if they meet the recommended levels of activity, as well as the types of activity.

Breaking It Down By Age

The World Health Organization breaks their guidelines into three different categories based on age:  ages 5-17; ages 18-64; and ages 65 and older.  This post will focus on the adult, 18-64 age group.

For individuals in this age group, at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity is recommended.  A combination or moderate and vigorous physical activity can be performed.  The aerobic activity should be performed in increments of at least 10 minutes.

Determining Intensity

Some examples of moderate-intensity activities include dancing, gardening, household chores, yard work, and participating in sports and games with children and pets.  Some examples of vigorous-intensity activity include running, fast swimming and cycling, and competitive sports.

Moderate-intensity activity should noticeably increase your heart rate and require a moderate amount of effort to perform.  Vigorous-intensity activity should require a substantial increase in heart rate, cause rapid breathing and require a large amount of effort.

A method to help you determine the intensity of the activity you are performing is using  the talk test.  During moderate-intensity activity you can comfortably talk, but would be unable to sing more than several words without running out of breath.  During vigorous-intensity activity, you would be unable to say more than a few words without having to take a breath.

Testing Intensity

In order to reap the health benefits that physical activity provides, it is important to not only perform the recommended number of minutes of activity, but at the right intensity.  Using the talk test is an easy, tech-free way to help you determine if you are performing physical activity at the right intensity.

Read more:

World Health Organization Recommendations

Centers for Disease Control

About the Author

Dan is the outpatient supervisor for Orlando Health-Health Central Hospital’s Rehabilitation Services department.  He joined the department in 2008 with his responsibilities consisting of patient care and administrative duties.  Prior to joining the team he served in a variety of managerial and supervisory roles.  Dan is responsible for oversight of a department of 10 team members, consisting of a multi-disciplinary staff of clinicians (physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language pathologists) as well as front office and support staff.  He is the coordinator of all student interns and volunteers within the department.

Dan has over 16 years of experience as a clinician, the majority of his practice being in the outpatient and sports medicine setting.  During his time with Health Central he has focused on growing programs and services, initiatives focused on quality of care, improving patient access to rehabilitative care, and implementation of an electronic documentation system for which he serves as the administrator.

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