What Exercise Is Right for Me?

two women in workout clothes smiling at the viewer

Exercise is essential to living heart-healthy. Why? Physical activity has numerous health benefits and is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of disease. The addition of any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can also help improve your brain health, manage your weight, and strengthen bones and muscles. However, it’s important to try to fit in the recommended weekly physical activity for optimal health benefits.

AHA Physical Activity Recommendations for Adults

  • Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.

  • Add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week.

  • Spend less time sitting. Even light-intensity activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary.

  • Gain even more benefits by being active at least 300 minutes (5 hours) per week.

  • Increase amount and intensity gradually over time.

Physical activity and calories

There are many ways you can exercise every day. Help determine what exercise is right for you using the following information on calories burned by type of workout. The chart below shows the approximate calories spent per hour by a 100-, 150- and 200-pound person doing a particular activity. 


Activity 100 lb 150 lb 200 lb
Bicycling, 6 mph 160 240 312
Bicycling, 12 mph 270 410 534
Jogging, 7 mph 610 920 1,230
Jumping rope 500 750 1,000
Running, 5.5 mph 440 660 962
Running, 10 mph 850 1,280 1,664
Swimming, 25 yds/min 185 275 358
Swimming, 50 yds/min 325 500 650
Tennis, singles 265 400 535
Walking, 2 mph 160 240 312
Walking, 3 mph 210 320 416
Walking, 4.5 mph 295 440 572

Walking, jogging and running

Do you want to start jogging or running but don’t think you can motivate yourself? Start by setting small goals. Begin by walking 15 minutes four times per week. Physical activity can increase your energy. You can begin incorporating jogging or running in short bursts or segments when you are ready.

More ways to work out

Almost any physical activity is better than none for your heart. Learn more ways to exercise to determine the type(s) of physical activity that suit you best: