Which is better — 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day or one hour of aerobic exercise three times a week?

Answers from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.

Longer, less frequent sessions of aerobic exercise have no clear advantage over shorter, more frequent sessions of activity. Any type of aerobic activity contributes to cardiovascular fitness. In fact, even divided "doses" of activity — such as three 10-minute walks spread throughout the day — offer aerobic benefits. What's most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week — preferably spread throughout the week. Moderate aerobic activity may include activities such as brisk walking or swimming, while vigorous aerobic activity may include activities such as running. Aim to be active for at least 10 minutes at a time.
  • Strength training exercises at least two times a week.

As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, work to increase your activity even more.

Aug. 20, 2016 See more Expert Answers