How Vigorous is Vigorous?
It’s always nice when the experts at Mayo Clinic weigh in on a health topic. Their explanations and endorsements prompt readers to immediately give credence to any matter under consideration.
Recently, Mayo physicians have offered comments on the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s (DHDP) recommendation that adults ages 18 to 64 complete 75 minutes of “vigorous” exercise weekly. The issue for adherents to this recommendation is how does one define “vigorous”? How do you know if you’re meeting this recommendation?
Exercise can be split into three activity zones: light, moderate, and vigorous. Healthy adults should invest time in each zone every week to optimize their preventative care.
Knowing how to determine which zone your activity is falling in will help you reach your goals. Try the following tips to help.
Light Exercise Test: Slow walks through the neighborhood, gardening, and vacuuming can all be considered “light” exercise. The test to determine if you’re in this zone? If you can sing a whole song from start to finish, without any breathless moments, you are in the light activity zone.
Moderate Exercise Test: Ideally, you’d find yourself in this zone for about 150–180 minutes per week. Hiking, aerobic dancing, and yoga all count as moderate. To test if you’re in this zone, try saying the Pledge of Allegiance. If you can still say it, but find yourself breathing hard throughout, you’re in the moderate activity zone.
Vigorous Exercise Test: If you can’t even utter a few words without taking a breath, you’ve discovered the vigorous activity zone. Running, spin class, and jumping rope all fall under this category. Remember, the DHDP recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.