Personal Health

It Ain’t What You Do, It’s the Way That You Do It

Person lifting medicine ball

In November 2020, the WHO released updated exercise guidelines for the promotion of health. These guidelines are aimed at everyone, both young and old, those with and without medical conditions, and those looking to both maintain or improve their health.

There are two major key points to take away from these guidelines:

  • TIME: Any amount of exercise is better than none, and more exercise is even better.
  • INTENSITY: Intensity is a key factor that determines the health benefit received.

The WHO does not tell you which exercise to do, only how it should be done, giving inspiration to this article’s title: “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it”.

WHO Exercise Guidelines 2020

(Per Week)

Adults 18-65:

  • Aerobic Exercise
    • 150-300 minutes of Moderate activity
    • OR 75-150 mins Vigorous activity per week
    • OR A combination of the above (1 min Vigorous = 2 mins moderate)
  • Muscle Strengthening
    • 2+ days
    • Moderate to Vigorous intensity, involving all major muscle groups.

Adults 65+

  • Should also include balance training and strength training 3 days per week.
How should you exercise according to the WHO

These guidelines are the minimum recommended for the promotion of health. Additional benefits do still persist beyond these targets. However, the biggest benefit is available to those going from minimal or no exercise, to starting any exercise regime.

Intensity is Key

Intensity can be measured in a variety of ways, however here in Personal Health we measure it by means of a heart rate monitor. This gives us real time objective feedback on your exercise intensity as you are performing it, and allows us to tailor the programme more specifically for you. As your work effort increases so too does your heart rate, and the associated benefits.

Light intensity exercise:

This includes activities such as slow walking, and leisurely shopping. This does not cause a substantial increase in our heart rate, and so has little benefit on our health and fitness.

Moderate and Vigorous intensity:

This involves working our body at a higher level of effort, which causes a noticeable increase in our breathing and heart rate. This is the level of intensity we need to aim for as this is what causes our body to adapt and become fitter and healthier over time.

If you need some help getting started, with figuring out how to achieve these exercise targets or modifying the intensity to be appropriate for you, get in touch with us here in Personal Health to arrange a consultation with one of our Chartered Physiotherapists, specialised in exercise prescription. We can help start you on your journey towards better exercise habits and a happier, healthier lifestyle.

You can book an exercise session with us on our website or call 01 496 4002.

Ruairi O’Donohoe


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