How Much Should You Exercise Each Week?

By Jacqueline Dagostino, PT, DPT, OCS, Cert. VRS

 Do you think you exercise enough? Following the recommended exercise guidelines can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, dementia, depression, and anxiety. Exercise also helps improve cognition, memory, sleep, bone health, and balance. Check out the current physical activity guidelines from the United States Department of Health and Human Services below to find out if you’re getting enough exercise.

Recommendations for Adults:

  1. At least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity OR 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity (or a combination of both). Benefits are greater if the active time is increased from at least 150 minutes per week to 300 minutes per week.
  2. At least 2 days per week of added moderate-high intensity muscle strengthening activity.
  3. Decrease your overall time spent sitting.

Recommendations for Children/Adolescents (6-17 years old):

  1. At least 60 minutes per day of moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity (mostly aerobic).
  2. At least 3 days per week of muscle and bone strengthening (weight bearing) activities.

Examples of moderate intensity aerobic activities include brisk walking, pool aerobics, dancing, light yard work and gardening, household chores, biking, and other recreational activities (tennis, rollerblading). Examples of vigorous intensity activities include hiking/backpacking, running, swimming, heavy yard work, cycling and participating in competitive sports.

When increasing your physical activity levels, it is best to gradually the amount and intensity over time. Maintaining these guidelines improves overall health, well-being, quality of life, and disease prevention.  If you’re unsure of how to increase your activity levels, or are having difficulty doing so because of pain or balance problems, reach out to a physical therapist for help!


  1. American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids | American Heart Association 
  2. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans |