How much aerobic activity do I need?
To gain health benefits, it is recommended that a healthy adult engages in either:
- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, or
- 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, 3 or more days a week.
The good news is that you can:
- Combine moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity in a week for more variety.
- Do the aerobic activity in segments of at least 10 minutes. You don’t have to do the 20 or 30 minutes at one go.
Intensity is how hard your body is working during aerobic activity. Let’s take a look at the difference between moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity activities.
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity causes a slight increase in breathing and heart rate. However, you are still able to talk but not sing during the activity. You should also be perspiring. Examples include:
- Brisk walking (5 km/hr)
- Leisure cycling (<16 km/hr)
- Leisure swimming
- Playing doubles tennis
Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity causes your heart rate to increase significantly. You are breathing hard and fast and you will find it difficult to hold a conversation with someone.
Examples of vigorous-intensity physical activity include:
- Jogging or running
- Swimming continuous laps
- Playing singles tennis
- Rollerblading at fast pace
- Playing basketball or football
- Skipping with a rope
These activities may vary in intensity between individuals depending on the effort put in and their fitness levels.
To help you gauge more accurately how hard you have been exercising, you can use the Intensity Guide below. If you would like to be exercising at moderate intensity, you should work towards 70%-80% of your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR).