Most fitness-minded moms have heard at some point in their lives that they should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise per week broken up into 30-minute sessions across five days. Is that really enough, though? This article will offer some insight that might help.
Why 30 Minutes?
The 30-minute target for aerobic exercise originated in the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans sets forth similar guidelines for adults aged 18 to 64 years but stipulate that 150 minutes per week is a minimum. For more extensive health benefits, experts actually recommend 300 minutes, or five hours, of moderate-intensity exercise.
Those who are able to perform vigorous-intensity exercises may actually benefit just as much from shorter workout sessions. Between 75 minutes and 150 minutes per week of vigorous exercise confers the same benefits as 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise.
What About Other Forms of Exercise? The 30-minute recommendation for aerobic exercise only covers one form of physical activity. Those who want to strengthen their muscles should perform additional activities at least twice each week. Women who want to add muscle-strengthening exercises to help with post-partum diastasis recti can get information that will help from Moms Into Fitness.
Adding strength training and flexibility exercises into an aerobic workout typically extends daily sessions to around 45 to 60 minutes. That may sound like a lot of time, but improved physical fitness can reduce the risk of developing potentially serious health complications, improve mood and concentration, and even help people sleep better, so the benefits really do outweigh the cost.
Incorporating Exercise Into Daily Life
A lot of new moms have trouble finding enough time to devote to daily exercise. Work and family responsibilities almost always take precedence over personal health and physical fitness, but they don’t have to. Try incorporating exercise into daily life by riding a bike to work instead of taking the car or going for walks with the kids. Other examples of moderate-intensity exercise include dancing, gardening, and water aerobics, all of which can be incorporated into weekly schedules to find fun new ways to get active.
When deciding what other forms of exercise to incorporate into a fitness routine, it’s important to start by defining goals. Weight loss requires longer periods of moderate to high-intensity aerobic exercise, while muscle building requires a focus on strength training and resistance training.
When to Expect Results
Improving physical fitness requires a long-term commitment to getting enough physical activity. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Weight loss typically begins to occur after a few weeks, while muscle-building requires several months of routine strength training. Try to think about physical fitness as a lifelong goal and don’t get discouraged if new exercises don’t yield immediate results.
Building muscle requires extra protein, so it’s important to eat right. Even people who want to lose weight by upping their physical activity levels should note that calorie-counting alone isn’t a healthy way to accomplish their goals. Instead, they should work toward incorporating healthy foods into their diets while working toward fitness goals.
The Bottom Line
Physical fitness is important during all life stages. While five 30-minute aerobic workout sessions each week will get consumers started on the path to improved fitness, it’s important to treat this goal as a starting point. Incorporate targeted strength training and flexibility exercises in addition to aerobic workouts as needed.