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Get Moving this Winter: How Much Physical Activity Do You Really Need?

Like it or not, we are heading into the winter months here in Minnesota, which can make it difficult to maintain a regular physical activity routine. 

By Katie Martin, Family Nurse Practitioner at Barnesville Area Clinic

Like it or not, we are heading into the winter months here in Minnesota, which can make it difficult to maintain a regular physical activity routine. I think it’s safe to say that most of us know that there are many benefits to regular exercise. Improved cardiovascular health, immunity and a boost in your mood, for example. But how much physical activity does a person really need? 

It is recommended that healthy adults ages 18-64 years should try to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity. It is best to spread this out during the week so that several days are active. Examples of moderate intensity exercises include walking, gentle bicycling, or water aerobics. High intensity activity includes running, fast cycling, lap swimming or other exercises that make it difficult to hold a conversation while performing the exercise. In addition, strength or resistance training is recommended two days per week. 

If you are looking for safe ways to stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many different options. There are fitness programs you can do at home, both free and paid subscriptions. If you’ve got Internet access, search on YouTube. Exercise DVDs can usually be found for cheap at local thrift stores if you don’t have access to the Internet. If you have kids at home, get them involved in the activity, too! Kids also need exercise daily. With the increase in distance learning comes a decrease in physical activity, so help them find ways to get their activity minutes in too.   Always check the level of intensity prior to starting a workout to make sure you don’t end up doing more than your body can handle. It’s also essential to discuss with your healthcare provider any new fitness or nutrition routines that you’re thinking of starting to ensure that it is safe for your health. 

It can be difficult at first to get into the routine of working out or being active, but once the routine is established it can easily become a normal part of your day. Reach out to a friend or family member for accountability and get moving! Your body will thank you for it! 

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