How Much Cardio Should I Do Each Week?


Quick Answer

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes moderate-intensity cardio exercise each week. Engaging in 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio produce similar benefits.

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How Much Cardio Should I Do Each Week?
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Full Answer

Cardio, or aerobic, activity involves the rhythmic movement of large muscle groups over time. This movement makes the heart pump faster and the lungs work harder, according to the CDC. Moderate-intensity activity is hard enough to make someone break a sweat, but not hard enough to interfere with talking during physical activity. Examples of moderate-intensity activities include walking, water aerobics and bicycling. During vigorous activity, the individual is working so hard she is not able to talk without pausing to catch her breath. These activities include running, spinning classes or playing tennis.

The American College of Sports Medicine suggests breaking down moderate-intensity exercise recommendations into 30- to 60-minute sessions five days each week. Vigorous activity can be broken down into 20- to 60-minute bouts of exercise three times each week. Those who are unable to exercise in one continuous session may benefit from smaller 10-minute sessions spread through the day.

According to the ACSM, even if an adult does not meet the minimum exercise recommendation, she may still benefit from cardio activity. Cardio activity can improve heart health, reduce chances of osteoporosis and increase muscle mass, according to WebMD.

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