S1 005. Practical Strategy 4 – Think About Movement Differently

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How Much Movement Do We Need? U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests most healthy adults aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity movement per week along with 2 strength training sessions (see reference below for full publication). According to a 2016 study (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), only 20% of women were getting the recommended moderate activity and strength training each week. Just over 24% of men were getting the recommended amount of activity each week.

Movement is Good for You! Moderate intensity movement of 150 minutes per week has mental, emotional and physical benefits. That is a total of 1.4% of the minutes each week or 4.5% of total minutes in a week if you remove sleeping and working time. We have time for movement!!

Obstacles. Be creative in work through obstacles to create space for movement in your life. More than anything, we have to focus on making movement a priority. Most obstacles can be overcome if we plan ahead and make arrangements to avoid or address.

2 Mind Shifts:

  1. Moderate intensity movement is any enjoyable movement that elevates your heart rate or puts stress on your muscles or bones. Pick anything that you enjoy – the options are endless!
  2. You don’t have to be a maniac! Start where you are and increase length, duration or intensity in small increments. If you are new to getting moderate intensity movement start with 3 sessions of 3 minutes per week and increase by 10% each week thereafter. Small changes will be easier to make, you’ll learn how/when movement fits into your schedule best and if you have to adjust it’s easier to find 3-5 minutes rather than trying to introduce a new 30 minute segment of activity in your already full life.

Make a Plan

As it relates to regular moderate intensity movement, if you currently…

  1. …do not get any moderate intensity movement on a regular basis start with a 10 minute goal your first week. Spread it over 2-3 days so that you are initially going through all the motions necessary to bring it into your life with minimal disruption. Increase the duration or number of sessions by no more than 10% each week. Soon, you’ll be moving up a storm!
  2. …get some regular movement but it’s less than the guidelines of 150 minutes consider increasing the number of sessions, duration or intensity by 10%. Continue to increase at that rate until you are at your desired number of minutes (ideally between 150 and 300 minutes each week). If you do not perform strength training find ways to fit in 1-2 sessions each week for 10 minutes. Gradually increase the length and/or intensity of the sessions over time.
  3. …get between 150 and 300 minutes and 2 strength sessions consider whether you want to increase the number of minutes that you move each week or change frequency or intensity. Consider trying new types of movement to recruit different muscle groups and keep yourself challenged.
  4. …get more than 300 minutes and 2 strength sessions evaluate whether you are enjoying your weekly movements. Is there something that’s getting old? Try new classes, experiment with online classes, do something different that will require your brain and your muscles to pay attention so that they don’t ease into muscle memory.

Everyone: Plan your movement each week at the start of the week using a calendar where you keep all important appointments. Treat and honor these movement sessions as a personal appointment that you do not miss.

Track your progress. Track which days you got your movement sessions in and the number of minutes. At the end of the week add it up and if you haven’t reached your ideal number of weekly minutes consider increasing the prior week’s total by 10%. Schedule the next week’s session in your calendar.

Show Notes


Dept of Health and Human Services / Office of Disease Prevention, Activity Ideas and Planner https://health.gov/MoveYourWay/Activity-Planner/activities/

Resources for older adults, pregnancies, disabilities, health conditions:  https://health.gov/moveyourway/resources

Heart Rate Guide and Calculations:  Mayo Clinic, Exercise Intensity: How to Measure it https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise-intensity/art-20046887#:~:text=You%20can%20calculate%20your%20maximum,beat%20per%20minute%20during%20exercise.


1 Department of Health and Human Services/ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Physical Activity Guidelines 2nd Edition, https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf

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