FITNESS FOR ADULTS
Adults gain health benefits when participating in any amount of physical activity. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults (aged 18 to 64 years) to incorporate aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity in each week.
Remember to start slowly! Aim for light or moderate intensity for short periods of time. Make sure to spread out the physical activity sessions throughout the week. Increase physical activity gradually over a period of weeks to months. Before starting a physical activity program, talk to your doctor/primary care provider if you are new to physical activity, have a chronic health condition (such as heart disease, arthritis, or diabetes), or have symptoms (such as chest pain or pressure, dizziness, or joint pain).
WARM UP + COOL-DOWN
To prevent injuries and reduce muscle soreness, incorporate slower speed or lower intensity activities at the beginning and end of your routine.
Walk briskly before jogging
Lift a lighter weight before completing the actual weight used during weight training.
Cool Down Exercises:
After completing the physical activity, gradually slow down or lower intensity to help the body cool down.
Adults can count the time spent during warm-up and cool-down towards meeting aerobic activity guidelines.
Perform aerobic activity for at least 3 days a week to help avoid excessive fatigue and reduce risk of injury. It counts as long as the aerobic activity is performed at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.
To gain the most health benefits, adults should aim for at least:
An equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity activity
• Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster,
but not race-walking)
• Water aerobics
• Bicycling on level ground or with few hills
(slower than 10 miles per hour)
• Tennis (doubles)
• Ballroom dancing
• General gardening (raking, trimming shrubs)
• Ballroom and line dancing
• Sports where you catch and throw
(baseball, softball, volleyball)
• Using hand cyclers, also called ergometers
Examples of Moderate-Intensity
Examples of Vigorous-Intensity
• Race-walking, jogging or running
• Swimming laps
• Tennis (singles)
• Aerobic dancing
• Fast dancing
• Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
• Jumping rope
• Heavy Gardening (continuous digging or
hoeing, with heart rate increases)
• Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
• Martial arts (such as karate)
• Sports with a lot of running
(basketball, hockey, soccer)
For More information on physical activity,
download this helpful handout: Be Active Your Way
Calisthenics that use body weight for resistance (push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups)
Carrying heavy loads
Heavy gardening (digging or hoeing)
Benefits of participating in muscle-strengthening activity are increased bone strength and muscular fitness. Adults should participate in muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week while including all major muscle groups: the legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms. One set of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise is effective, but doing two or three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions may be more effective. Stronger muscles occur after increases in the amount of weight or the days each week of exercising.
Even though flexibility does not have recommended guidelines, it is an important part of physical fitness. Flexibility plays an integral part in some types of physical activities such as dancing. Adults should perform stretching exercises to help increase flexibility. Activities that require greater flexibility is easier for adults who perform stretching exercises.