Fitness Guidelines Are a Minimum
The Health and Human Services Department has released a set of guidelines for exercise. While noting that moderate exercise for adults is beneficial, children and teens do in fact need more, suggesting at least an hour a day. The HHS goes to great lengths to make it clear that there are lots of ways to achieve it fitness for all ages.
Basic suggestion, start slowly. Those not currently exercising will see benefits with as little as 10 minutes of moderately intense exercise a day, with increases in exercise length over time.
Due to the increase in overweight and obese children in recent years, the HHS created an expert panel to review data. Findings showed that regular physical activity can cut the risk of heart attacks and stroke by at least 20 percent, reduce chances of early death, and help people avoid high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, fractures from age-weakening bones and depression.
These findings led to the creation of the minimum exercise guidelines. The guidelines advise:
- You don’t have get all the activity at once. A walk for an hour three days a week works as well as, say, a 30-minute exercise class on weekdays or saving most of the activity for a two-hour Saturday bike ride.
- For aerobic activities, go at least 10 minutes at a time to build heart rate enough to count.
- You should be able to talk while doing moderate activities but not catch enough breath to sing. With vigorous activities, you can say only a few words without stopping to catch a breath.
- Children’s daily hour should consist of mostly moderate or vigorous aerobic activity, such as skateboarding, bike riding, soccer, simple running.
- Three times a week, children and teens need to include muscle-strengthening activities – sit-ups, tug-of-war – and bone-strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or skipping.
- Adults should do muscle-strengthening activities – push-ups, weight training, carrying heavy loads or heavy gardening – at least two days a week.
- Older adults who are still physically able to follow the guidelines should do so, with an emphasis on activities that maintain or improve balance.
These are minimum goals, the guidelines note. People who do more will see greater benefits.