It’s likely you already know that regular exercise helps prevent chronic disease, such as diabetes and heart problems, while improving your overall health, mood, and quality of life. It can sharpen mental function, boost concentration, and help you sleep. And the new exercise guidelines and physical activity guidelines issued by the federal government’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion show that the dose required to gain these benefits is not hard to achieve. The new guidelines are better tailored for age and ability, too.

By: Lauren Elson, Harvard Health Publishing

What should your exercise goals be?

The amount of exercise and mix of activities recommended varies depending on age and ability, as described more fully below. It ranges from a high of three hours daily — for preschoolers, who tend to love activity — to 150 minutes a week.

Unfortunately, 80% of the population is not meeting the guidelines. Each year in the US, an estimated 10% of premature deaths and $117 billion in healthcare costs are associated with inadequate physical activity.

Besides saving money on healthcare, there are many personal benefits to staying active. The new guidelines highlight other new evidence-based findings related to physical activity and exercise.

What changed in the new exercise guidelines?

The new guidelines base your dose of physical activity on relative intensity: how much effort a given exercise takes compared with your capacity for exercise. A brisk walk counts as moderate physical activity (think: fast enough so that you can speak comfortably, but not sing). The speed of this walk will be much faster for someone who is in shape than for someone who is just starting to exercise or getting back to activity after a break. But no matter where the starting line is, most people can safely improve their fitness and health. Begin with lower amounts of exercise and slowly increase duration, intensity, and frequency.

For example, if you:

New exercise recommendations by age and ability

To view the full article published in Harvard Health Publishing, click here.

Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on everything Wellbeats, and learn more about us here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.