If we earned a peso every time we’re told to be healthy, we’d probably be rich by now.
While we know why it’s important to live an active and healthy lifestyle, it’s equally important to know what and how much physical activity we really need to be in tip-top shape. Good news, you don’t have to hit the gym all day every day! At least, that’s what the physical fitness pyramid says.
Just like how the food pyramid works, the physical fitness pyramid is a guide to improve your physical fitness. It recommends different types of activities you should be doing in a week to stay physically fit. The closer to the pyramid base, the more frequent the activity!
As a student, there are a lot of physical activities you can do to stay fit and healthy even with a busy schedule. Ever wonder how often you should do these activities? Here’s what the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends, ranked from more to less:
1. Lifestyle physical activities: Things you do anytime, anywhere!
When we say “lifestyle,” we mean physical activities that you are already doing as part of your everyday routine. These activities include moving around in the house, doing household chores like sweeping or mopping the floor, or just about every other thing you do with minimal effort. Moving is better than no physical activity at all. So make sure you incorporate activity even in the little things!
P.S. Did you know lifestyle physical activities help control your body fat level? Yas!
How often should I do lifestyle physical activities?
- Every day
Examples of lifestyle physical activities:
- Walking to and around the campus
- Using the stairs instead of the elevator
- Running errands at the market (e.g. buying school supplies or ingredients for your baon)
2. Aerobic exercises: Things that speed up your heart rate
Graded recitations shouldn’t be the only situations that increase your heart rate, make you breathe faster, and make you sweat; aerobic exercises should do that for you, too! Take your physical activities up a notch by building your cardiorespiratory endurance. At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercises each day should do the trick!
How often should I do aerobic exercises?
- 3-5 times per week
Examples of aerobic exercises:
- Going for a run before or after school
- Biking around the neighborhood to de-stress
- Trying Zumba classes with the whole barkada
3. Sports and recreational activities: Things you enjoy doing
It’s time to get your head in the game! Whether you play or don’t play sports, the physical fitness pyramid suggests engaging in sports and recreational activities on a weekly basis. Not only is it fun to do, but the fitness and health benefits are just too good to pass off. Guess it’s time to take your PE classes extra seriously!
P.S. The phrase “ball is life” can’t get any realer than this.
How often should I do sports and recreational activities?
- 3-5 times per week
Examples of sports and recreational activities:
4. Strength and flexibility exercises: Things that build you up
When physical fitness is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind would be strenuous, hardcore exercises that often involve strength and flexibility exercises. Don’t you agree?
While we’re not gonna lie that these activities are really a stretch for some people (pun intended), students like you are actually at a good age to start building muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility as young as you are. Don’t be afraid to start with small, light weights. Progress is key!
How often should I do strength and flexibility exercises?
- 2-3 times per week
Examples of strength and flexibility exercises:
- Dancing or gymnastics
- Lifting weights/ body weight training like push-ups or sit-ups (if you don’t have the equipment)
5. Leisure and playtime activities: Things you love doing
Physical fitness should be fun. If you want to keep an active and healthy lifestyle, your physical activities should be tailored to your interests and preferences. That means carving time for activities you love! After all, it gets easier to get fit and stay fit when you actually enjoy a workout that doesn’t feel like a chore.
How often should I do leisure and playtime activities?
- 2-3 times per week
Examples of leisure and playtime activities:
- Low-impact sports
- Strolling around on a skateboard or scooter
6. Physical inactivity: Things you should do less
The activity that occupies the top spot (read: smallest portion) in the physical fitness pyramid is… you guessed it, the physical inactivity level! While we don’t necessarily remove inactivity in your day to day (we still need rest and sleep periods!), we suggest cutting it down and not being too inactive.
For students like you, inactivity might look like hours spent binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix or mindlessly scrolling on social media! You know the drill. There is such a thing as “too much” screen time. So go ahead and watch an episode or two, but make sure to balance it with other physical activities in the pyramid.
How often should I do these physical inactivities?
Examples of physical inactivity:
- Watching TV
- Surfing the internet
- Sitting down… too much
If you were to be honest, where does most of your time go in the physical fitness pyramid? This tool is a guide you can use to start living an active and healthy lifestyle now so you can be up and running inside and outside the classroom. The physical, emotional, and academic benefits are limitless! What are you waiting for?