Published: Thu, November 15, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

America updates its physical activity guidelines, with one important change

America updates its physical activity guidelines, with one important change

Those with chronic conditions or disabilities should follow the key guidelines to the best of their ability.

If new fitness guidelines from the federal government are any indication, the vast majority of Americans aren't getting almost enough exercise. According to the report, only around 26 percent of men and 19 percent of women actually get the recommended amount of physical activity on a daily basis.

Adults should aim for 150 - 300 minutes of moderate or 75 - 150 minutes of vigorous activity a week.

With more and more individuals, families and communities struggling with chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, ACE affirms the Guidelines recommendation that a greater volume of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can help prevent or minimize excessive weight gain and maintain a healthy weight.

Move more, sit less, start younger. The advice is the first update since the government's physical activity guidelines came out a decade ago.

The second edition, based on a comprehensive scientific review, reflects new knowledge about immediate and long-term health benefits from physical activity, as well as new evidence that physical activity can help manage chronic conditions that many Americans have. The findings were published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"This update takes a significant step forward in the application of the science of physical activity, making the guidelines more usable for more Americans in everyday life", said Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, FACSM, President and Chief Science Officer at ACE.

But the update clarifies that even very short bursts of physical activity - on actions as mundane as taking the stairs, gardening, or parking the auto further from your destination - are good for you.

"Multiple studies demonstrate that the steepest reduction in disease risk, such as for coronary heart disease, occurs at the lowest levels of physical activity", wrote Paul Thompson, chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital, and Thijs Eijsvogels, an exercise physiology professor at Radboud University Medical Center, in an editorial accompanying the guidelines. This requirement has been removed because all activity counts.

Finally, ACE is thrilled that The Guidelines underscore the growing body of evidence that groups led by professionals, such as exercise professionals and health coaches, or peers can help improve physical activity levels.

"It's actually easier to achieve the recommendations in the physical activity guidelines", said ADM Brett P. Giroir, MD, assistant secretary for health at HHS.

Updated for the first time in 10 years, the guidelines add that those who now do very little physical activity have the most to gain by moving more.

A new addition to the guideline indicates that young children between the ages of 3 and 5 should engage in active play throughout the day to enhance growth and development.

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