It’s not enough to walk the dog. That is to say, there are several components to a well-executed exercise plan or prescription. For most of us, walking at 2-3 mph would best be categorized as an “activity of daily living” rather than exercise.
One reason to exercise is to improve or maintain cardiorespiratory fitness. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 75 minutes of “vigorous” activity. However, the American Heart Association is now recommending 300 minutes per week, and a JAMA review article in 2015 highlighted that for longevity benefits, while 150 minutes reduced all-cause risk of death by 31%, 450-700 minutes per week resulted in a 39% decreased risk of death. If you are doing the math, that is approximately 1 hour per day. There is no question that moderate to intense cardio-aerobic exercise is a powerful longevity tool, and in fact, fitness is a better predictor of lifespan than cardiovascular risk factors and labs. The heart rate must rise to 60-70% of your heart rate maximum (something we call zone 2 training) in order to count. Read more