Exercise: how much and how intense?

Exercise: how much and how intense?

There are so many benefits to being physically active and to exercising regularly – slowing the aging process is just one of them. Being active for at least 150 minutes each week (even more is better) can help adults to:

  • Increase overall fitness
  • Strengthen muscles and bones
  • Improve mental health and well being
  • Reduce overweight and obesity
  • Reduce the risk of chronic disease including Heart disease, Stroke, High blood pressure, certain types of Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, and Osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of premature death

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults 18-64 years of age are active enough to:

  • Accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in periods of 10 minutes or more.
  • Add muscle and bone-strengthening activities using major muscle groups, at least twice a week.

While participating in moderate-intensity activity adults should still be able to talk. While participating in vigorous activity adults shouldn’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Muscle-strengthening activities are those that increase skeletal muscle strength, power, endurance and mass, such as strength training. Bone-strengthening activities produce an impact or tension force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength. Running and lifting weights are examples of activities.

I typically suggest that everyone also participate in activities that maintain or enhance flexibility and balance. Maintaining flexibility and balance can reduce pain, improve posture, help us avoid falls (and recover faster if we do). Yoga and Tai Chi are good options.



A marketing communications professional with over 25 years of experience and a fitness instructor/trainer of three decades, Catherine has inspired thousands of Canadians to lead active, healthy lives. Catherine lives in Toronto and has two daughters, ages 21 and 18. Visit Catherine's website