The American Heart Association recommends that healthy individuals get a minimum of 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Combining vigorous and moderate exercise is also acceptable. Adding two muscle-strengthening exercise sessions to these minimum recommendations delivers even more health benefits.
One way to make exercise a habit and ensure sufficient exercise each week is to commit to a schedule of 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Activity can also be broken up into 10- or 15-minute sessions. Participating in sports is another way to meet exercise goals.
Popular moderate-intensity exercises include walking, dancing, cycling and swimming. During moderate-intensity exercise, a person's heart is pumping and breathing becomes labored, but carrying on short conversations is still possible. Jogging and running at an intensity where conversations are not possible are considered vigorous activities. Light-intensity activities, such as cooking and doing household chores, typically do not count toward a person's minimum daily exercise requirements because they do not raise the heart rate sufficiently.
Aerobic activities boost heart health and help prevent strokes and heart attacks. Muscle-strengthening activities include weight lifting and strength training. A comprehensive muscle-strengthening program covers all of the major muscle groups, including the arms, legs, back, hips, shoulders, chest and abdomen.