"There's not a one-size-fits-all program for everybody and it's going to depend on what your outcome of interest is going to be," Dr. Ross said. Fitness is complex, and when it comes to changing your body composition, there isn't a simple calculation that will get you closer to achieving your goals, she explained. "Yes, you want to try to eat a more balanced meal — the timing of those meals is going to be important — and your exercise patterns are going to be important, but I can't give a specific prescription for a bunch of different people that's going to work the same on everybody," Dr. Ross said.
Generally speaking, Dr. Ross recommends beginning with the goal of being physically active three days a week for those who are currently sedentary. Once you've become consistent with physical activity three days a week, Dr. Ross recommends working up to training five days a week and following the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines For Americans.
These guidelines suggest adults do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. This is anywhere from three to five days of aerobic activity, such as running, riding a bike, and swimming, Dr. Ross explained. "Trying to incorporate muscle-strengthening or resistance exercises at least twice a week, too, is an excellent goal to try to work toward," she added.
These recommendations promote being more physically active and "emphasize moving more and sitting less," the article in the Journal of the American Medical Association states. Consider walking to work, going on a bike ride, running, or doing yoga.