The Importance of Zone Two Cardio: It’s Not Just Exercise

In this video, the speaker discusses the importance of zone two cardio for overall health and longevity. The recommended minimum is 150-200 minutes per week. While the speaker schedules one session of 60-90 minutes of zone two cardio per week, they acknowledge that it may not always reach the recommended threshold. However, they emphasize that zone two cardio does not have to be a specific workout but can be incorporated into daily activities like walking briskly, doing household chores, or having work discussions while pacing. The message is to aim for 200 minutes of zone two cardio per week spread throughout daily activities for optimal health benefits.

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Key Insights:

  • Scientific data recommends getting 150 to 200 minutes per week of zone two cardio for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health.
  • Scheduling zone two cardio as a session is common, such as going for a slow jog or hike once a week.
  • Zone two cardio should not be considered as traditional exercise, but it is critical for health and can enhance other aspects of fitness.
  • Incorporating more walking, rapid walking, and increased movement throughout daily activities can fulfill the required zone two cardio.
  • The goal is to get at least 200 minutes of zone two cardio per week by spreading it throughout daily activities.
  • Zone two cardio does not have to impede social connections, work productivity, or restful sleep.
  • Considering zone two cardio as part of daily life rather than a separate exercise allows for enjoyment and flexibility.
  • By integrating zone two cardio into daily activities, time is freed up for other aspects of fitness.


The scientific data suggest that we should all aim for a minimum of 150 to 200 minutes per week of zone two cardio for the sake of our cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health, as well as other aspects of overall health. Many people, myself included, incorporate zone two cardio into their weekly fitness routine. I personally dedicate one day a week, usually Sunday, for a slow jog lasting 60 to 90 minutes. It allows me to maintain nasal breathing and have conversations along the way. Sometimes, I opt for a hike instead, which may last anywhere from one to four hours.

While discussing my zone two cardio routine with Dr. Andy Galpin, I expressed concern that my once-a-week session may not always meet the minimum threshold of 150 to 200 minutes. To my relief, he reassured me by saying that zone two cardio should not be considered as exercise. He emphasized that zone two cardio is crucial for our health and can actually enhance other aspects of fitness, such as strength training, hypertrophy training, or speed work.

Dr. Galpin suggested that scheduling specific sessions for zone two cardio, whether on a treadmill or a bike, is fine. However, he also stressed that incorporating more walking or rapid walking into our daily activities can increase our overall movement and fulfill the weekly requirement of 200 minutes. This means engaging in activities like carrying groceries, playing with kids, having work discussions while walking, or taking work calls while pacing in the office. Dr. Galpin emphasized that zone two cardio can be woven seamlessly into our daily lives without requiring additional scheduled time.

For individuals with busy schedules, like myself, this was a relief. It means I don’t have to sacrifice sleep or social connections to squeeze in more cardio. The key takeaway is to aim for a minimum of 200 minutes of zone two cardio per week, and that can be achieved by incorporating more movement throughout our daily activities. Dr. Galpin’s message was reassuring, stating that zone two cardio can improve various aspects of our lives, including social interactions and work performance.

Personally, this message aligns well with my current routine, which already includes three resistance training workouts per week. The two additional cardio workouts are now considered as part of my daily activities rather than formal exercise. This mindset has allowed me to enjoy these activities more, as they are now seen as recreational rather than training sessions. By integrating zone two cardio into our daily lives, we are more likely to meet the minimum requirements and reap the benefits it offers, all while freeing up time for other fitness goals and personal engagements.