Most of us by now have heard the National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland; to engage in moderate intensity activity for 30 minutes five times a week or 150 minutes weekly.
The overall benefits of exercising include, but are not limited to:
- Better health
- Improved fitness
- Better posture and balance
- Better self-esteem and self-confidence
- Weight control
- Stronger muscles and bones
- Feeling more energetic
- Relaxation and better sleep
- Continued independent living in later life
- Helps prevent diabetes
- Helps keep your cholesterol levels healthy
- Reduces depression and anxiety
- Provides social outlets
In our hectic lives it may be hard to fit in time for 150 minutes a week however you don’t have to do it all at once, it can be broken down in many ways. You can build your 30 minutes (or more) over the day by doing a number of short bouts of activity. The minimum length of these short bouts is 10 minutes.
A great way to fit in moderate intensity exercise in your week would be to do it with a journey you have to do anyway. This could translate as getting off your bus a stop earlier; cycling or walking to work; going for a walk at lunchtime; leaving the car behind dropping the kids to school or on local errands.
Being active for 15 minutes on the way into and the return home for work 5 times a week hits your weekly 150 minute target!
Moderate Intensity exercise involves any movement that makes your heart beat a little faster, makes you feel a little warmer and makes your breath a little heavier, you should still however be able to carry out a conversation. A brisk walk would be a moderate intensity activity for most people.
Moderate Intensity activity includes walking at a pace of 5 kilometres per hour or a kilometre in 12 minutes or cycling at a speed of less than 16 kilometres per hour.
High-intensity activity is equivalent to jogging/running, and causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate.
For more information and detail please see the HSE website here