Now that you’re comfortable with moderate physical activities, you can begin to increase your intensity. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intense aerobic activity at least 5 days a week or 25 minutes of vigorous-intense aerobic activity at least 3 days a week - or a combination of both.
But how can you tell if you’re doing a moderate and vigorous activity? The talk test is a great way to determine the intensity of your activity.
If you can talk, but not sing, while doing an activity, it’s considered moderate intensity. If you can’t say more than a few words without stopping to catch your breath, then the activity is vigorous.
We previously gave some examples of moderate-intense activities. Here are a few examples of vigorous-intense activities you can add to your routine:
- Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
- Swimming fast or swimming laps
- Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
- Aerobic dancing (such as Zumba)
- Jumping rope
- Race walking, jogging, or running
- Sports with a lot of running (soccer, basketball, hockey)
- Tennis (singles)
- Martial arts (such as karate)
- Biking faster than 10 miles per hour
Research has shown that adding vigorous activities can improve fitness more than doing only moderate intense activities. It can also provide greater heart health benefits.
Adding more intense activities can be scary, but remember that starting is the hard part. Once you get over that hurdle, you’ll be ready for even more.