How Much Physical Activity Do You Need?

Exercise is essential to living a long, healthy life – your entire body benefits from a workout session in one way or another. But how much exercise do you really need to stay healthy? Below are some general guidelines to help keep you and your family on the right track.


Every week, adults should combine muscle-strengthening activities (two or more days) that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) with one of these options:

  • Two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity
  • One hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity
  • An equivalent mix of moderate-intensity and vigorous aerobic activity


Children should exercise at least 60 minutes every day. Each day should include moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, with at least three days of:

  • Vigorous-intensity exercise
  • Muscle-strengthening activities (other than weightlifting)
  • Bone-strengthening activities

Ideas and Encouragement

For adults, 150 minutes of exercise each week sounds like a lot of time, but you don’t have to put it in all at once. Here are some tips:

  • Spread your activity out during the week
  • Break your exercise into 10-minute increments each day
  • One minute of vigorous-intensity activity = two minutes of moderate-intensity activity

Moderate-intensity aerobic activities can include:*

  • Water aerobics
  • Riding a bicycle on level ground or with a few hills
  • Playing doubles tennis
  • Pushing a lawn mower or doing heavy housework
  • Hiking, skateboarding or rollerblading
  • Skateboarding
  • Brisk walking
  • Parking your vehicle farther is a good way to increase your exercise. The steps can quickly add up.

Vigorous-intensity aerobic activities can include:**

  • Jogging or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Riding a bicycle fast or on hills
  • Martial arts
  • Playing basketball, soccer or singles tennis

Muscle-strengthening exercises can include:

  • Lifting weights
  • Working with resistance bands
  • Push-ups and/or sit-ups
  • Heavy gardening (digging, shoveling)
  • Yoga

Bone-strengthening exercises can include:

  • Skipping
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Hopscotch

*Moderate-intensity activity: Allows you to talk but not sing.

**Vigorous aerobic activity: Allows you to say only a few words without catching your breath 

You can download these helpful tips here and hang them on your refrigerator as a friendly reminder to stay active.