Physical Activity Guidelines
- This article features excerpts from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. As written by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Summary
Being physically active is one of the most important actions that people of all ages can take to improve their health. The evidence reviewed for this second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is clear—physical activity fosters normal growth and development and can make people feel better, function better, sleep better, and reduce the risk of a large number of chronic diseases. Health benefits start immediately after exercising, and even short episodes of physical activity are beneficial. Even better, research shows that just about everyone gains benefits: men and women of all races and ethnicities, young children to older adults, women who are pregnant or postpartum (first year after delivery), people living with a chronic condition or a disability, and people who want to reduce their risk of chronic disease. The evidence about the health benefits of regular physical activity is well established, and research continues to provide insight into what works to get people moving, both at the individual and community level. Achieving the benefits of physical activity depends on our personal efforts to increase activity in ourselves, family, friends, patients, and colleagues. Action is also required at the school, workplace, and community levels.
Developing Physical Activity Guidelines
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It complements the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a joint effort of HHS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Together, the two documents provide guidance for the public on the importance of being physically active and eating a healthy diet to promote good health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
The primary audience for the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is policy makers and health professionals, though it may also be useful to interested members of the public. The main idea behind the Guidelines is that regular physical activity over months and years can produce long-term health benefits. The development of this edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans started in 2016 when former HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell appointed an external scientific advisory committee, the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Committee conducted a series of systematic reviews of the scientific literature on physical activity and health and met periodically in public session to discuss their findings. The Committee’s work was compiled into a scientific report summarizing the current evidence. The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report and summaries of the Committee’s meetings are available at https://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/. When writing the Guidelines, HHS used the Advisory Committee’s Scientific Report as its primary source but also considered comments from the public and government agencies. The Guidelines will be widely promoted through various communications strategies online and in print, such as the Move Your Way campaign materials for professionals and consumers, and partnerships with organizations that promote physical activity.
Key Guidelines for Adults
Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits.
• For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.
• Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.
• Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.
Key Guidelines for Older Adults
The key guidelines for adults also apply to older adults. In addition, the following key guidelines are just for older adults:
• As part of their weekly physical activity, older adults should do multicomponent physical activity that includes balance training as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
• Older adults should determine their level of effort for physical activity relative to their level of fitness.
• Older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely.
• When older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.
Key Guidelines for Adults With Chronic Health Conditions and Adults With Disabilities
Adults with chronic conditions or disabilities, who are able, should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.
• Adults with chronic conditions or disabilities, who are able, should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.
• When adults with chronic conditions or disabilities are not able to meet the above key guidelines, they should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities and should avoid inactivity.
Adults with chronic conditions or symptoms should be under the care of a health care provider. People with chronic conditions can consult a health care professional or physical activity specialist about the types and amounts of activity appropriate for their abilities and chronic conditions.
Key Guidelines for Safe Physical Activity
To do physical activity safely and reduce risk of injuries and other adverse events, people should:
• Understand the risks, yet be confident that physical activity can be safe for almost everyone.
• Choose types of physical activity that are appropriate for their current fitness level and health goals, because some activities are safer than others.
• Increase physical activity gradually over time to meet key guidelines or health goals. Inactive people should “start low and go slow” by starting with lower intensity activities and gradually increasing how often and how long activities are done.
• Protect themselves by using appropriate gear and sports equipment, choosing safe environments, following rules and policies, and making sensible choices about when, where, and how to be active.
• Be under the care of a health care provider if they have chronic conditions or symptoms. People with chronic conditions and symptoms can consult a health care professional or physical activity specialist about the types and amounts of activity appropriate for them.
To continue reading please click on the link below. It will take you to the pdf format of the “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition“
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