80% of Americans Don’t Move Enough

You may not be surprised to find that about 80 percentof U.S. adults and young people aren’t active enough. That’s a significant number, but given the allure of TV and video games after a long day of sitting at your desk for work, you can see how easy it is to submit to a sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle can actually be worse for you than smoking.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released an updated version of their Physical Activity Guidelines, which originally debuted in 2008. The updated version boasts new research, updated specifics on how often and how hard you should exercise each week, as well as specifics for older adults. Are you meeting the guidelines?

Physical Activity Guidelines

So ,what does the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have to say about physical activity? Let’s look at the guidelines for adults in general and older adults.

Adults

It’s certain that some physical activity is better than none, but to reap the most benefits, an adult should do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. That’s between 2.5 hours and five hours of exercise weekly, or 30-60 minutes per day, five days a week..

Alternatively, an adult can do between 75 minutes and 150 minutes of vigorous, aerobic exercise a week to achieve similar results. That’s only 15-30 minutes each weekday.

Or, if you like to keep things spicy, you can do a combination of moderate-intensity and vigorous exercise throughout the week.

Ultimately, the more you exercise the better. The guidelines note that more than 300 minutes (or five hours) of exercise in a week provides even more benefits.

These are recommendations for aerobic exercise. What about strength training? It’s an important element of exercise and health, as well. When you build strong muscles you’re also building strong bones. The guidelines suggest strength training at a moderate or greater intensity level at leasttwice a week.

Older Adults

These guidelines apply to older adults, as well, but with some additional components. It’s important as you age to do exercises aimed at strengthening your balance. Falls can be deadly as we age and are more likely to occur due to a steady decline in your ability to balance. The guidelines suggest balance training as part of your weekly activity.

It’s also more common as an older adult to have a chronic condition. When planning your physical activity, take into consideration your fitness leveland any chronic condition you’re dealing with. Don’t try to go above and beyond what your body is capable of. Give yourself time to work up to higher levels of exercise.

Final Thoughts

Physical activity benefits you in so many ways. The more active you are, the happier you are, you sleep better, and you have a reduced risk of chronic disease. What can be better? While time and motivation are often limiting factors, consider your long-term health next time you’re tempted to sit on the couch rather than exercise.

For information about children, adults with disabilities, and pregnant or postpartum women, see the guidelines.

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41 comments

Latoya Brookins
Latoya B14 days ago

I'm one of the 80% total couch potato.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara16 days ago

go for it and move

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara16 days ago

flag the stupid spam

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara16 days ago

go out and observe nature

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara16 days ago

go out and help someone

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara16 days ago

go out and pick up litter

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara16 days ago

th

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Carole R
Carole R16 days ago

I'm sure this is true. Good information.

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David C
David C16 days ago

thanks

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Lisa M
Lisa M16 days ago

Thanks.

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