Physical Activity Recommendations
How much physical activity do you need to live a healthier, longer, more productive life? Surprisingly not as much as you might think! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services have issued Physical Guidelines for Americans, detailing what research has identified as the most accurate recommendations for adults and children to get the most benefit.
All adults should strive for including physical activity in their day. Previously, recommendations said you needed at least 10 minutes a day, but current research indicates that all activity is good, and any movement counts towards your activity in a day.
- All adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes per week ( 2 1/2 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity, or 75 minutes per week (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous intensity activity, or some combination of both.
- Moderate intensity is anything that increases your heart rate and breathing, such as walking, cycling, yoga, and weight lifting.
- A good way to know if you are in moderate intensity is by using the “talk test,” meaning you can speak about 2-3 words per breath but not sing. If you can easily talk or even sing, increase your intensity.
- Vigorous intensity can include those activities that really increase your heart rate such as running, hiking, etc. You’ll find that it is next to impossible to speak in vigorous activity.
- Aerobic activity should ideally spread throughout the week
- Additional benefits occur at 300 minutes per week of moderate intensity, or 150 minutes per week of vigorous intensity activity
- All adults should include 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.
It is important to provide young people opportunities and encouragement to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.
- Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily:
- Aerobic: Most of the 60 minutes or more per day should be either moderate- or vigorous- intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity on at least 3 days a week.
- Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days a week.
- Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days a week.