Moderate-intensity activities that can improve overall health

Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. The current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. But what constitutes moderate-intensity physical activity?

Moderate-intensity physical activity gets the heart pumping, but only around one in five adults and teens get enough exercise to maintain good health, says the American Heart Association. It may be because people are having difficulty figuring out what constitutes moderate-intensity activity. Here is a more detailed explanation of the types of activities considered moderate-intensity.

• Walking very briskly (roughly four miles per hour)

• Heavy cleaning, like washing windows, vacuuming and mopping

• Mowing the lawn with a power mower

• Bicycling with light effort (10 to 12 miles per hour)

• Playing recreational badminton

• Playing doubles tennis

• Slow dancing

• Shooting a basketball

• Water aerobics

• Playing volleyball

• Heavy gardening

• Painting and decorating

Anything that doesn’t increase heart rate and breathing speed will not count as moderate-intensity activity towards the recommended amount of activity. However, any exercise is better than no exercise at all. As long as an activity breaks up long periods of sitting still, doctors says it is still beneficial.