In 2008, the first edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans was released. These guidelines were used to help youth and adults get the correct amount of physical activity every day. Earlier this week the guidelines were updated and released in the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The new guidelines were expanded to include children as young as three and further promote daily activity.
Only one in 3 children are physically active every day, and less than 5 percent of adults are active at least 30 minutes a day. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans aims to get everyone sitting less and moving more.
The guidelines outline key physical activity objectives people of all ages and abilities should strive for every day. For children ages 3 to 5, it is recommended they engage in active play throughout the day for at least 3 hours. Children ages 6 to 17 should be active for at least 60 minutes a day.
Adults should spend between 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity. In addition to this, adults should also partake in muscle-strengthening activities, like push ups or weight-lifting, at least 2 days a week.
Adults who are older, pregnant, and/or have a disability have modified guidelines to meet their individual needs. Older adults have the same requirements as other adults, but their activity should be modified to their skill level. All physical activity should be limited to what can safely be done. It is recommended that pregnant women spend 150 minutes a week doing moderate physical activity. Adults with disabilities should do 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity.
When it comes to staying active, there are barriers that can make it harder to meet the guidelines. People are more likely to be active when they have the means to do so. Only about 20 percent of homes are within half a mile of a park. Several communities don’t have easy access to safe bike lanes or safe places to walk. Promoting policy that enhances greenspace and improves pedestrian and roadway safety can make physical activity more accessible.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are an inclusive set of recommendations for people of all ages. Staying active is an important part of a happy and healthy lifestyle. Before starting any new physical activity, be sure to consult with your doctor. Have fun and stay active!
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