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 a week of moderate aerobic activity (think brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running) — preferably spread throughout the week. Activity sessions should be at least 10 minutes long.
  • Strength training exercises at least twice 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.

Jan. 30, 2014