Is it realistic to say you should workout five days a week? Apparently.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of “moderate-intensity” activity and two days of muscle strength training — and they know that doesn’t sound fun for most people.

“We know 150 minutes of physical activity each week sounds like a lot,” the CDC said, “But you don’t have to do it all at once. It could be 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. You can spread your activity out during the week and break it up into smaller chunks of time.”

Why 150 minutes?

Working out on a regular basis can help you live longer, according to a study published in Aha Journals. During the 30-year study that included 116, 221 participants, 47, 596 deaths occurred. The conclusion of the study found that those who followed the recommended guidelines reduced their risk of any cause of mortality by 19-25%.

“This is an important study because of its size with over 100,000 participants and long-term follow-up of over 30 years,” Dr. Jeffrey Neal Berman told Healthline. “Most importantly, people who do not exercise much can get greater benefits of mortality reduction by adding a modest level of either vigorous or moderate physical activity.”

What type of workouts?

The CDC recommends working out under three different categories: Moderate-intensity aerobic activity, Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and a mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity is the base level of exercise the CDC says you should be doing for 30 minutes 5 days a week. The United Kingdom National Health Service shared a list of activities that fall under this category:

  • Riding a bike
  • Brisk walking
  • Water aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Rollerblading
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Vigorous-intensity aerobics causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up quite a bit more than moderate exercises. The CDC recommends participating in these exercises at least 75 minutes every week. The Harvard School of Public Health said exercises that fall under this category include:

  • Participating in group sports
  • Running at a pace of six mph
  • Carrying heavy loads
  • Biking at 14-16 mph
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Along with aerobic training, muscle strength training is important for optimal health.

“You lose muscle mass as you get older,” Orthopedic Surgeon Anne Marie Chicorelli told Cleveland Clinic. “People ask me all the time, ‘Well, I walk every day. Isn’t that enough?’ and I will respond, ‘That’s great for your cardiovascular health, but it doesn’t do as much for your strength.’ Strength training, weight training and jogging are impact activities that increase your bone health and decrease your risk for fractures.”

Regular physical activity creates lasting benefits as you age. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said there is evidence that people who workout consistently are able to better manage other health complications they might have.

“Physical activity can decrease pain for those with osteoarthritis, reduce disease progression for hypertension and type 2 diabetes, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve cognition for those with dementia, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease,” the Department said.

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