The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is a solid resource — a brief-but-comprehensive education in the importance of being active throughout our lives. It’s well organized, readable, and FREE to download (a PDF file) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
If the entire 117-page document is a bit much, just read this article, from the same source: Top 10 Things to Know About the Second Edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Some Important Points About Physical Activity
These are from the Top Ten Things to Know, and have been reformatted here for clarity:
“To attain the most health benefits from physical activity, adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking or fast dancing, each week.” But also, “any amount of physical activity has some health benefits.”
“Adults also need muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least 2 days each week.”
“For adults, physical activity …
- helps prevent 8 types of cancer (bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, stomach, and lung);
- reduces the risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease),
- [reduces] all-cause mortality, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and depression; and
- improves bone health, physical function, and quality of life
- For older adults, physical activity also lowers the risk of falls and injuries from falls.
- For pregnant women, physical activity reduces the risk of postpartum depression.
- For all groups, physical activity reduces the risk of excessive weight gain and helps people maintain a healthy weight.”
“New evidence shows that physical activity can help manage more health conditions that Americans already have. For example, physical activity can
- decrease pain for those with osteoarthritis,
- reduce disease progression for hypertension and type 2 diabetes,
- reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and
- improve cognition for those with dementia, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease.”
There’s a lot there! Read it again. Let it sink in. Physical activity is really important!
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