Get Moving! The New Guidelines for Americans

Are you including a healthy amount of exercise in your daily routine? If not, the new set of guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests putting in more effort in any amount of physical activity that you are doing.

Sitting less and moving more is the new motive which will improve the overall health even if the activity being performed comes in small chunks. All groups of people whether they are preschoolers, children and adolescents, adults and the elderly and even pregnant women are affected in the new edition.

A previous issue from the health department dates back to a decade ago in 2008 which had largely similar guidelines to the new one, the difference being it to say that the exercise had to be done in intervals of greater than 10 minutes to count as effective activity. However, the new issue counts every small bit of activity being done in the day as part of an exercise.

Be it the daily chores and errands, climbing the stairs, going on small walks, be it anything that gets you moving and staying active throughout the day. Following the new set of a guideline is quite easy as what they are suggestive is basically to move anywhere, anytime and by any means that gets you active.

The new guidelines suggest that based on science, physical activity and exercise gift you with immediate benefits where they will be reduced anxiety, improvement in sleep patterns, improved blood sugar levels, and long-term benefits such as significantly lower chances of heart disease, certain types of cancer and other chronic illnesses.

What’s new in this edition?

The core recommendations in the 2018 new guidelines for physical activity are not all different from the previous issue. The additions in the second issue revolve around three main points.

Any kind of activity is healthy

The first significantly emphasizes the advantages of physical activity and the risks which a sedentary lifestyle brings to one’s overall well being.

Much more research has been done on the benefits derived from physical activity on one’s physical, mental and emotional well-being over the past decade and the government is urging Americans by spreading awareness to accept exercise as medicine which is free of cost and the best medicine ever.

As some experts tell it to be the best prescription ever which very little people follow. If people seriously start exercising, it will cut down their hospital visits and the amount they spend on other medications.

Prevent your children from getting obese early on

The second point emphasizes preschool children who were exempted from the previous edition. It states that children aged 3 to 5 years need to be active throughout the day and they also need to be indulged in other active play involving a variety of activity types. This point is to make the parents aware that it is just not okay for the children to be lying around all day. Child obesity and other factors resulting from inadequate physical activity start pretty early.

Every activity counts to the total

The third point on which the new guidelines focus is derived from current evidence that the total volume of moderate to vigorous physical activity is related to many health benefits and that every activity counts up to the total.

This last point may be useful to people who think that they don’t have the time to go to the gym or play sports. They can be active through climbing stairs several times during the day or taking a short walk whenever and wherever they can to make it count as their daily exercise. The key lies in movement in any form may it be.

Amount of physical activity for each age group

Children and adolescents

The other age groups mentioned in the new set of guidelines other than the preschooler’s group is children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 years of age.

It suggests a full hour of physical activity for this group of moderate to vigorous intensity and vigorous intensity workout sessions including muscle, aerobics, and bone strengthening three days week. This can be in the form of skipping rope, running, cycling and other similar activities.

Adults and older adults

As for adults, it urges them to bring at least some activity into their lives as some activity is better than none. The recommended amount of physical activity for this group is at least 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate intensity or 75 to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic workouts or a combination of moderate to vigorous intensity sessions per week.

The moderate intensity activities could be playing volleyball, raking the yard, taking a brisk walk or basically, anything gets you moving and brings your heart rate up. Even a quick walk to your car, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or mowing your lawn, all count in the being active.

Vigorous intensity activities can be intense workouts such as running, spin classes or aerobic classes where the heartbeat reaches to a level where you are out of breath and cannot have a conversation with anyone else. And such exercises are to be done for 75 to 150 minutes per week.

Along with this, a bonus physical activity will be muscle strengthening of moderate to vigorous intensity involving all muscle groups at least two days a week.  But again, if you are too lazy to succumb to this routine, it is better to include any activity of your choice as long as you are moving.

The new edition doesn’t even the older set of adults relax. It suggests similar routines as that of adults but those with disabilities and chronic illnesses can try their level best to follow adult guidelines to the best of their abilities.

Pregnant women and women undergoing a postpartum period

If you’re pregnant or just gave birth, then you are not forbidden from being physically active. Perform the guidelines of exercises of moderate to vigorous intensity and adjust them to your needs. You should even be able to perform the vigorous-intensity aerobic activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period, if you were regularly engaged in them before conceiving. But any form of vigorous activity should be approved through by your doctor and an activity feasible enough to handle should be selected. That’s for the best of your health and your baby’s too.

Final words – get up and get moving!

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the second edition provides complete information about the types and amounts of physical activity for each age group of people that provide substantial health benefits. Awareness needs to be spread amongst the masses to reap as many benefits possible out of performing an exercise.

Strong evidence suggests that the benefits of exercise and daily physical activity are plenty and for your entire life regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, or body size. From strengthening the bones, giving you ample energy, reducing anxiety and depression, improving sleep patterns and insomnia to keeping you away from chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes and heart diseases, exercise gives you enough reasons to get moving right away!




James Anderson

Having developed startups for the better part of the last decade, James now covers healthcare stories with a business slant. Email: james@askhealthnews.com

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