According to the federal government the average person should work out at least two and half hours a week if doing moderate activities and an an hour and fifteen minutes if doing vigorous activities. I think the governments motive for writing this article is to reduce disease, obesity, etc among Americans. This means it is the bare minimum you should exercise just to stay healthy. To me this does not seem like even enough to do that; most people (college kids especially) do that amount of walking during the week anyways.
If your goal were to lose weight you would want to follow the e-how site guideline. They say a person should work out about 6 days a week and for at least thirty minutes a day in order to stay healthy and sixty minutes a day to lose weight. They are referring to more vigorous types of exercise in this article. This seems much more reasonable, especially with the emphasis on vigorous activities. While walking is better than nothing, in order to be truly physically fit I think a person needs to do aerobic and/or muscle strengthening exercises.
Interestingly enough another government site put out a physically fit guideline that says a person should do wide variety of exercises (including aerobic and muscle strengthening) but all together do three hours a week. This site is definitely the most detailed and varied of these sites and I believe its reliable because its backed by the government.
All these sites seemed to know what they were talking about, the differences I saw were to whom the authors were writing to.
How much should you work out in a week?
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