Posted 02/09/2019 2:00:00 PM by Tanya Colaco

Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore the importance of cardio for your overall health. But how much cardio per day should you be getting to stay healthy? If you’re unsure, keep reading below! 

How Much Cardio Per Day Should You be Getting?

Depending on your age group, how much cardio per day you should get varies. To keep it simple, here are a few guidelines to follow courtesy of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP): 

Kids and Youth

Researchers Janssen and LeBlanc recommend that “aerobic activities make up the majority of physical activity” for kids and youth. With this in mind, according to the CSEP, those between five and 17 years old should have a total of 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. The goal is to keep kids moving to discourage sedentary behaviour and achieve high levels of physical activity each day. 

Adults and Seniors

Adults between 18 and 64 years old and those who are 65 and over should aim for at least 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate to vigorous cardio activity per week. Per the CSEP, this can be done in bouts of ten minutes or more each day—a fairly achievable goal for those just starting out! 

Why is Cardio Important for Overall Health?

For kids, teens, adults and seniors alike, cardio has many positive impacts on overall health and well-being. To get a better idea, here are just some of the benefits of aerobic exercise:  
  • Has positive impacts on depression1
  • Reduces the risk for obesity2
  • Improves heart health and reduces the risk for cardiovascular diseases3
  • Reduces the risk for stroke in healthy adults by 25-30%4
  • Reduces the risk for hypertension5
  • Reduces the risk for colon and breast cancer6
  • Reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes7
  • Reduces the risk for functional limitations and disability in older adults8
  • Can help in the prevention of dementia9

What Counts as Cardio?

For some people, cardio is a dreaded, laborious chore which often falls to the way side. Fortunately, it doesn’t only have to be intense jumping jacks or scary burpees! According to the CSEP, here’s what else counts towards fulfilling cardio goals:

Kids and Youth

  • Participating in sports and games
  • Engaging in play-based activities

Adults and Seniors

  • Brisk walking
  • Bike riding
  • Jogging
  • Participating in sports or group exercise classes
  • Swimming
Of course, for those who are looking for more intensity, the YMCA offers a variety of group fitness classes that will get your heart rate up. From cardio kickboxing to Tabata classes, we have something for everyone!
Interested in joining our drop-in group fitness classes? Learn more about becoming a member and join the Y today!

About Tanya Colaco

Tanya is the Digital Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. She’s an avid foodie, enjoys learning new things and loves to travel. Tanya is also an “animal person” and can never resist petting any cat or dog that crosses her path!

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