Greater Peoria Metro Area, IL

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Health by the Numbers 1/67th of Your Week


By Alexander Germanis


Every 365.25 days, our little blue/green marble orbits the sun at the center of our solar system. That year is broken into 52 weeks, each of which is made up of 168 hours. Multiplied by an increment of 60, a week takes a considerable 10,080 minutes to pass by.

That time, of course, needs to be split amongst the necessities of life: sleep, work, cooking, eating, and taking care of one’s family, home, and hygiene.

But how many of those 10,080 minutes do we need to set aside to take care of our physical health? How many minutes should we carve out for exercise?

The generally agreed upon number, expressed by the American Heart Association, the Center for Disease Control, the Mayo Clinic, and countless other medical bodies, is a surprisingly low 150 minutes. That works out to be .014881 or, as a fraction, a mere 1/67th of your week.

Most people spend far more time binge watching shows on Netflix or Prime.

For two and-a-half hours per week, adults should engage in moderate aerobic activity. Anything that sustains a moderately elevated heart rate – roughly 50 to 70 percent of your personal maximum heart rate – will suffice. An adult’s maximum heart rate varies depending on age and can be anywhere between 150 and 200 beats per minute. (We’ll explore heart rates in more depth in a future “Health by the Numbers.”)

Activities such as brisk walking, dancing, water aerobics, or even gardening should be sufficient to increase one’s heart rate to the prescribed zone. Should you want to kill two birds with one stone, household chores such as mowing the lawn, vacuuming, or mopping the floor will get you your requisite exercise, as well.

Following a steady prescription of moderate exercise, coupled with a healthy diet, can stave off heart disease, stroke, and weight gain.

Should you want to shed some weight or keep off weight you recently lost, however, doubling your moderate exercise time to 300 minutes or more per week can help.

But most Americans love a short cut. Even breaking exercise into half hour increments during the work week can seem like a stretch. For those with tighter schedules who don’t want tighter clothes, vigorous exercise in place of moderate exercise can shave your workout time in half.

For 75 minutes, only .0074 or 1/135th of your week, vigorous exercise can serve the same benefits as twice the time spent in moderate exercise. Your target heart rate should be 70 to 85 percent of your personal maximum heart rate.

Exercises such as bicycling fast; swimming laps; running; hiking; playing sports like hockey, basketball, singles tennis, or soccer will work. Household chores like shoveling snow can also boost that heart rate into the appropriate range.

Whether choosing the 150-minute moderate route or the 75-minute vigorous one, it is wise to insert some form of strength training into your block of exercise time. Lifting weights, using resistance bands, or rock climbing will build muscle mass which will, in turn, help you better maintain or lose weight.

Of course, workouts don’t always have to be 20 to 30 minutes or longer. Doctors agree that even five minutes of exercise throughout the week will make a positive impact. After all, a little exercise is better than no exercise; and only 1/67th or 1/135th of your week is pretty little.