How Much Physical Activity Should an Adult Have Each Week

Unsure about how much physical activity you need? Learn from a health expert about recommended weekly amounts, discover amazing health benefits, and find tips to fit exercise into your busy life.

Key Points

  • Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week further enhance health.
  • Regular physical activity offers numerous benefits, including weight management, disease prevention, and improved mental well-being.
  • Small changes like taking the stairs or incorporating walks can make a big difference.
  • Listen to your body, start gradually, and find activities you enjoy for sustainable fitness.


Imagine feeling energized, stronger, and brimming with happiness – all thanks to regular physical activity. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just starting out, understanding how much activity you need is crucial for reaping the incredible rewards it offers.

This article, written by a health professional, dives deep into the recommended amount of physical activity for adults, explores its science-backed benefits, and provides practical tips to integrate movement into your daily life.

How Much Physical Activity Do You Need?

So, how much physical activity should an adult have each week? The magic number, according to leading health organizations, is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. Confused about what they mean? Don’t worry.

Moderate-intensity activity gets your heart rate up and makes you breathe harder, but you can still hold a conversation. Think brisk walking, dancing, swimming, or gardening.

Vigorous-intensity activity makes you breathe fast and talk in short bursts. Running, cycling uphill, jumping rope, or intense sports fall under this category.

But wait, there’s more. To truly optimize your well-being, don’t forget muscle-strengthening activities. Aim for at least two days a week, working all major muscle groups like legs, back, chest, and arms. Weightlifting, using resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges are great options.

Why Move Your Body More?

Now, onto the exciting part – the amazing benefits of regular physical activity.

  • Exercise helps burn calories and build muscle, which boosts metabolism and aids in maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Studies show physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and even dementia.
  • Strength training increases bone density and muscle mass, improving balance, stability, and preventing falls.
  • Physical activity releases endorphins, natural mood-boosters that combat stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Regular exercise promotes deeper, more restful sleep, leaving you feeling energized and refreshed.
Remember, every bit counts. Even small changes in your daily routine can make a significant difference. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from your destination, or opt for active hobbies like dancing or cycling.

Tips for Fitting Activity into Your Life

Don’t be intimidated by the word “exercise” – it doesn’t have to be gruelling gym sessions. Here are some practical tips to incorporate activity into your busy schedule.

  • Start small and gradually increase duration and intensity.
  • Find activities you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, swimming, or team sports.
  • Break it down: 30 minutes can be split into 10-minute bursts throughout the day.
  • Involve friends and family for added motivation and support.
  • Track your progress and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small.

Weekly Exercise Guidelines

Aerobic exercise

  • Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.
  • Alternatively, engage in 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
  • Break it down into 30-minute sessions, five days a week, or adjust based on your schedule.
  • Examples: brisk walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, or playing sports.

Strength training

  • Include muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.
  • Focus on major muscle groups: legs, arms, back, chest, and core.
  • Use free weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises.
  • Benefits: improved metabolism, bone health, and functional fitness.

Flexibility exercises

  • Stretching is essential for maintaining flexibility and preventing injuries.
  • Dedicate 10-15 minutes to stretching exercises on most days.
  • Yoga, Pilates, and static stretches are excellent options.
  • Enhances joint mobility and reduces muscle tension.

Health Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

  • Exercise lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
  • Physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight and prevents obesity.
  • Regular exercise reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Weight-bearing exercises strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis.
  • Active individuals experience better sleep quality.
  • Exercise boosts immune function.
  • Active adults tend to live longer and healthier lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I’m not in good shape? Can I still start exercising?

Absolutely. Start slow with low-impact activities like walking or swimming and gradually increase intensity as you get fitter. Your body will thank you for it.

Are there any health conditions that prevent me from exercising?

Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. They can guide you towards safe and effective activities.

How can I stay motivated to keep exercising?

Find activities you enjoy, set realistic goals, track your progress, and reward yourself for milestones. Join a fitness class, find a workout buddy, or listen to upbeat music to stay engaged.

Can I combine different types of exercise in a week?

Yes, variety keeps things interesting and targets different muscle groups.

My Final Thoughts

So, how much physical activity should adults have each week? The answer lies not just in numbers but in the journey towards a healthier, happier you.

Start with the recommended guidelines, listen to your body, find activities you love, and unleash the incredible power of movement.

Remember, it’s never too late to invest in your well-being, one step at a time. Now, get moving and experience the transformative power.