How Much Exercise Do You Need?

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DEAR DR. DONOHUE: What is the amount of exercise recommended for a man or woman of 55? I was always under the impression that 15 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week was a sufficient amount of time for heart health. Am I wrong? — R.K.

ANSWER: That used to be the recommended amount of exercise time for an adult. For readers, aerobic exercise is the kind of exercise that is tailored for the heart. It’s exercise that employs the continuous use of large muscles for a somewhat protracted period of time, at least 10 minutes. Jogging, biking, walking, swimming and dancing are examples of aerobic exercise.

The latest advice for adults, if their doctors say they are fit enough to exercise, is to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. That’s 20 minutes of exercise seven days a week or 50 minutes, three times a week. You can divide it any way you wish, but the minimum amount of one session of exercise has to be 10 minutes. If you are a novice, take your time to reach 10 minutes. A single session can be longer if you choose.

Moderate-intensity exercise is walking at a pace of 3.5 miles an hour, a brisk walk.

Or if you want to devote less time to exercise, you can if you make it vigorous exercise. Vigorous exercise for 75 minutes a week fulfills the requirement for heart health.

If you’re up to it and if you want even greater results, double those times — 300 minutes of moderate exercise a week or 150 minutes of vigorous exercise a week. I want to issue the warning again. Get doctor approval for any of this. Strength-training exercise — weightlifting — also is strongly recommended for all adults regardless of age.

The booklet on aerobic exercise explains how to benefit your heart in clear language. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue — No. 1301W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.


DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am an 80-year-old woman, and I’ll never be able to wear a bikini again because my body is covered with ugly red spots. The doctor calls them cherry angiomas.

They are beginning to appear on my trunk and over my thighs and upper arms. I’d like to know how much longer I can expect to play host to them. — J.H.

ANSWER: Cherry angiomas are tiny, round, firm, smooth, red skin projections that are growths of small blood vessels. People can have a few or hundreds. Mostly they spring up on the trunk and upper arms. They have no impact on health.

You can expect to be host to them forever. If they bother you, there are a number of ways to get rid of them. A doctor can dry them up with an electric current or with a laser.

I don’t know why they happen. They just do. And they occur mostly in senior years.


Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

© 2010 North America Synd., Inc.

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