Physical Activity Guidelines

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2008)

“At least 150 minutes of Moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of Vigorous physical activity each week, or a combination of Moderate & Vigorous”


“muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days per week”

How can you achieve this?

Walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, 5x a week = 150 min Moderate Activity

Examples of Physical Activity Ratings:


  • Brisk Walking: 3 to 4.5 mph on a level surface inside or outside
  • Race walking—less than 5 mph
  • Hiking
  • Bicycling <10 mph
  • Golfing (no cart)
  • General Yard Work


  • Race walking and aerobic walking—5 mph or faster
  • Running or Jogging
  • Walking and climbing briskly up a hill
  • Backpacking
  • Bicycling >10 mph
  • Aerobic Activity Classes
  • Shoveling Dirt or Snow

Studies have shown that even moderate physical activities can be beneficial to anyone who is currently sedentary & unfit, but if you are already incorporating moderate activity such as walking, consider kicking it up a notch by Nordic Walking for Fitness! Most regular walkers can increase their workout by 20% by adding poles, and without any perceived increase in exertion! Vigorous walkers can increase their energy expenditure even more.

Average Walking Intensity Levels*:

  • Easy/ Warm-up Pace: 2.0-3.0 mph or 20+ minutes/mile
  • Moderate/ Brisk Pace: 3.0-4.0 mph or 15-20 minutes/mile
  • Fast/ Interval Pace: 4.0-5.0 mph or 12-15 minutes/mile

*these are general guidelines, your pace may vary based on your individual level of fitness as well as physical attributes such as height & stride length

Calories Burned during Physical Activity are based on level of intensity, activity duration and your individual body weight. 

As an example, Sparkpeople’s Calorie Calculator factors for a 180# person walking for 30 minutes**:

Regular Walking

  • 3.5 mph (17 minutes/mile) = 168 calories
  • 4.0 mph (15 minutes/mile) = 189 calories
  • 4.6 mph (13 minutes/mile) = 210 calories

Nordic Walking

  • 3.5 mph (17 minutes/mile) = 206 calories
  • 4.0 mph (15 minutes/mile) = 227 calories
  • 4.6 mph (13 minutes/mile) = 252 calories

**these are general calorie calculations, your individual results may vary.

Links to medical studies referencing weight management and energy expenditure can be found HERE and HERE.


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