This has got to be the most problematic question out there. And its answer is equally dubious – it depends. It depends on what your job is, who you ask, how active you usually are during the day and a gazillion more variables.
The recommended duration a day is 30 minutes (150 minutes a week), as per the American Heart Association guidelines, but a recent study says this may not be enough and you better set aside at least an hour more to prevent heart failure, which occurs when the heart cannot supply enough blood to the body. More than 5.1 million adults in the U.S. are affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The new data has been calculated after analyzing 12 other studies that have monitored 370,460 men and women for 15 years. Those who exercised 30 minutes a day experienced minimal decrease in their risk of developing heart failure. In comparison, those who worked out twice as much saw a 20 percent decrease, and those who worked out four times more had a 35 percent reduction in heart failure risk.
There could be other factors for the results such as better eating habits or no pre-existing conditions. But however big the margin of error is, people may want to think about how active they are.
So the magic number for you can still be 30 minutes a day if you want to lose weight. Another study says that just half an hour of intense exercises can be just as effective as a 60-minute routine when it comes to burning calories. Men who are slightly overweight lost eight pounds in three months after working out 30 minutes every day. In comparison, men who train for an hour a day lose six pounds on average. The extra half an hour of exercise did not appear to provide any additional weight loss in body weight or fat.
The margin of error is unclear here as well. The people who lost more may have been more active throughout the day in general because they had more energy.
The CDC notes that one minute of dynamic activity is about the same as two minutes of moderate activity. So if you don’t have time for long workouts, don’t panic. Intense aerobic activity is described as you doing something that makes you breathe fast and significantly increases your heart rate. Consider running, swimming, riding a bike on hills, or playing basketball for your next workout.