What are Great Physical Activity Guidelines? Tips for Everyone.

What are Good Physical Activity Guidelines? Tips for Everyone.

Wouldn’t it be great if life came with guarantees? That if you eat healthily, do your daily exercises and live a stressless life you would be healthy and feeling great all the time?

Well, it doesn’t work that way all the time. Even if we do all of the above and follow the physical activity guidelines, we can get ill. As I found out at the start of this new decade.

I can moan about it, which doesn’t do me any good. Or I can get angry, which helps me even less. And I can give up on my healthy lifestyle altogether. Or I can just accept it and count my blessings and decide that physical activity is good for me, no matter what.

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Physical activity guidelines

To know how to be physically active it’s best to stick to the guidelines: Exercise at least 5 times a week for half an hour to an hour. Alternating between moderate to intense activity as well as alternating between stretching, strength training, balancing, aerobic and endurance training.

An advantage of regular training

Exercising as a precaution

2020 didn’t start exactly perfect for me. First, on January 1, I fell during our walk. Then a couple of days later a severe kind of flu attacked me. I managed to do a Facebook Live, fully convinced my old trick was helping me but collapsed into bed for 2 weeks. 

This trick, which has helped me for years, is a mantra. It works like this: I start thinking quietly or out loud as soon as I am meeting someone who is ill: “I am healthy, I am healthy, I am healthy …”

Although living a healthy lifestyle counts for something as well, don’t you think?

Someone remarked rather cynical, “Well, so much for your healthy lifestyle”. And of course, I was disappointed, feeling miserable and cloudy. Yet, I am still optimistic. Because I compare my life nowadays and my sick days, with when I was younger. Back then I was ill almost all of the time.

A healthy lifestyle pays off

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Let’s start with the disclaimer. As you can understand from my intro, living a healthy lifestyle does not come with guarantees. A cold or the flu can be caught anytime. Or another virus as we all know from the present pandemic. Even big problems like cancer or dementia can happen.

That’s why you have to make sure that your healthy lifestyle is not a burden. Tom and I make sure we mainly do the things we like while in the meantime being convinced we’re on the right track.

To name a few:

  • Tom works in the garden and on the field of a friend who is an ecological farmer (exercise, socialize, contribute); 
  • I meditate and do stretch or strength training in the morning and evening (celebrate, exercise);
  • We walk almost daily in the surrounding mountains, enjoying nature (exercise, inspiration);
  • Our meals are 90% vegetarian and since Tom is an excellent cook it’s always tasty (nourishment, contribute).

So if our lives won’t be as long and thriving as we anticipate, at least we had fun doing the things we love. Even our exercises are not a chore. And those are important, as you know.

Exercising reduces the risk of…

Walking daily
  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke;
  • Elevated blood pressure;
  • Osteoporosis, arthritis, and joint pain;
  • Mobility and motility issues;
  • Back issues;
  • Chronic pain;
  • Various cancers;
  • Alzheimer’s.

By exercising you will boost lean muscle mass, increase metabolism, lose weight, tone your body, and decrease the risk of injury, even if you start at age 60 or older.

Related: Walking for Health Benefits that will Reward You Immediately

Regular exercise also…

  • Improves confidence;
  • Life quality;
  • Flexibility and motility;
  • Speed, endurance, and mobility;
  • Memory recall.

If you are out of the loop and haven’t been exercising regularly for quite some time, it’s important you first get the okay from your healthcare provider. The last thing you want to do is start training with a pre-existing condition and wind up on the sidelines; when all you needed was a modified program.

Further still, it doesn’t matter your age, physical ability, or health condition, because there’s some sort of exercise that will benefit you. That’s something all doctors can agree on because if you don’t use it, you WILL lose it over time, particularly when you’re ageing.

To get started, all it takes is 15 minutes per day. Keep in mind, you need to cater to your tolerances and preferences, so choose an activity that you like. Later you can increase the duration and intensity at will.

If you don’t want to be at the gym, take your training home, join a group that hikes or bikes, or you test the water with an outdoor boot camp; intense interval training for all ages and abilities that is guaranteed to whip you into shape fast. You get the idea. 

Set yourself up for success by making sure you are creating new habits with the support of your preferences, dislikes, and life-long experiences.

Related: Conscientious Living: Exercising without the Gym is not Difficult

Fantastic 15 Minute Workout Ideas…

Squat

Strength training and cardio blast

This is a sequence of 4 exercises that gives you a full-body workout. Keep in mind you can alternate different exercises and modify any of them if required. 

The 4 main exercises are push-ups, crunches, squats, and jumping jacks, marching on the spot, or jump rope; depending on your ability.

This sequence is done in 3x 5-minute intervals with a 1-2 minutes rest in between each 5-minute interval; again, depending on your level of fitness. 

The idea is to execute 5 repetitions of each exercise for 5 minutes without stopping. If you need to take a short break with each sequence make sure you do, just challenge yourself to get your heart rate up and breathing heavily; you need to get sweaty!

Power walk and light weights

For this 15-minute mini exercise routine, you just need your running shoes and 2 lightweights, 2 or 5-pound Dumbbells work great. The idea is to do some interval power walking; where you change the pace and intensity about every 2 minutes or so to get your heart rate up and challenge your body to start blasting fat.

While you are doing this, you can swing the weights in an exaggerated natural walking motion to get the full effect. This will also help build your arm and shoulder strength while you are increasing your cardiovascular capacity.

Start with 15 minutes and work yourself slowly up to 45 minutes.

Cross-trainer and weight machines

You can get a quick 15-minute workout at the gym with alternate bouts of the cross trainer or stepper and the weight machines. 

Start with 5 minutes on a moderate level on the cross-trainer. 

Strength training

Next, do a 6-minute interval, alternating 3 different weight machines. 

To start using the pulldown machine, leg press, and chest press. Set your weight light but at a challenging level and execute forced reps of each. Set your timer for 1 minute and do as many as you can of pulldowns, then leg extensions, followed by the chest press. By diversifying your workout, you maximize the calories utilized, according to Men’s Health.

Therefore, you should get 2x 1-minute sets of each exercise. In addition, you should have your weight set so you really feel each exercise at least for the last 15 seconds of each set. 

Then finish up with a nice challenging 4 minutes on the cross-trainer. 


Use these suggestions to help you get on track for fabulous health!

Do you exercise a lot? Tell us in the comment box below.

8 thoughts on “What are Great Physical Activity Guidelines? Tips for Everyone.”

  1. I used to exercise a lot, with dancing at least 4 times a week, daily long walks, biking, swimming, fitness. Then I had a major setback, with long covid. Now I am getting back on track! I walk daily, and recently started my weight lifting work out again.

    Reply
    • I am so glad to hear you were able to start your weight lifting again, Kadanza. It must be so horrible to suddenly have been pushed back by long covid. Pfff, I can’t imagine how I would have reacted. I am already bad at dealing with my immobility if I am a couple of weeks out of the running by a fall or back pain. Let alone being almost immobile for a year or longer. I do hope you have your strength back any time soon.

      Thanks for your comment and get healthy soon.

      Reply
      • The ‘good’ thing was, that I had brain fog too, so I couldn’t be too bothered at the time, lol. But now that I can think somewhat straight again , I am bothered and bored and worried about my health. So I am very happy indeed, that I see improvement.

        Your physical setback was from 2 years ago? So, I guess you’re recovered, with all those excellent work out ideas you have shared here! I will check some of them out, for variety in my exercise routine.
        Thanks for sharing them!!

        Reply
        • Phew, I have heard such awful things about long covid from another friend, and now from you as well. It’s no pleasure, that’s for sure.

          No, my setback is right now. I fell with an e-bike over a month ago and was black and blue all over. I have had bruises before (I get bruises quite easily) but I never knew that they can be pitch-black as well. Now I know. My bruises are gone by now, the sprains are not. The healing gets slower with ageing but nothing to be done about that. 🙂

          Reply
  2. Hi Hannie,

    Fantastic article that covers so many important points! As life has become SO much simpler from a survival point of view, taking the time to engage in physical activity has become more important than ever. Our ancestors would’ve been on their feet all day, hunting and gathering just to survive. Modern technology and large-scale farming has eradicate the need to do so, and I sometimes think how crazy it would be if a hunter-gatherer were introduced to a supermarket!

    As you mentioned, regular exercise helps us in so many different and beneficial ways – keep it up 🙂

    Rob

    Reply
    • Thanks for the compliment, Rob. Your remark made me smile, putting a hunter-gatherer into a supermarket, LOL.

      Someone I follow, and whom you would find very interesting as well but unfortunately is solely blogging in Dutch, remarked that the hunter-gatherers were probably fisher-gatherers. I thought that was an interesting remark and might very well be true since catching fish was easier than catching running prey.

      And you’re right we have to be careful with what we do, or rather forget to do, like walking enough and skipping sitting as much as possible.

      Great you stopped by and take care.

      Reply
  3. I had to stop exercising due to a back and knee injury and consequently, my belly muscles turned into fat … So, now that I can do the movements again which I couldn’t do before, I am starting to exercise a little. I started running for a few weeks but stopped, I enjoyed it but I am not a huge fan of running. I like powerwalking, though, and I love the idea with the dumbbells, so I want to start doing that. I also want to buy a new bicycle. I’ve always loved riding a bicycle, and I would like to take it up again. Lately, I started dancing more. I just play some music and I dance automatically; so, I figured, why not turn this into an exercise routine? It is fun and effective.

    Reply
    • Dancing is a marvellous idea, Christine! It’s fun and almost without realizing can burn a lot of calories. Another advantage, although not yet applicable in your situation is we can do it until a very high age, as I described in an article on one of my other websites: Have you Ever Thought of Ballroom Dancing as a Form of Exercise?

      It’s always difficult to start over after an injury, don’t you think? Important, but it takes a lot of discipline. At times I fall, and each injury seems to take longer than the one before to recover. So I have to do my utmost to get back on track.

      Thanks for your comment and get healthy soon, Christine!

      Reply

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