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New federal guidelines count short bursts of activity, housework as exercise

Posted at 3:17 PM, Nov 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-12 17:33:42-05

The federal government has released its 2nd Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.  

It’s been ten years since the recommendations have been updated and the key message to everyone is “get moving.”  

What I love is that the advisory committee for this dug into current scientific literature. And what was found, not surprisingly, is that most people have positive health outcomes when they are active.

So what’s changed?  

Well, the previous guidelines said that you needed at least 10 minutes of aerobic activity for it to count towards your 150 minutes per week activity goal. But now, any movement that gets you active counts.

You’ve heard me talking before about becoming your own health hero and adding movement into your daily life.  

Well, that’s the same concept in the new guidelines.  

So short bursts of exercise like taking the stairs, doing housework, carrying heavy groceries, and shoveling snow are all great because they help you stay physically active.   

Adults still need 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity as well as muscle-strengthening activity at least twice a week. What’s interesting is that the new guidelines now recommend activity for 3-to-5-year olds, suggesting 3 hours a day as a reasonable target.

Preschoolers need to move and take part in active play throughout the day because this helps to strengthen bones, improve their growth and development.  

Right now we are doing way too much sitting, and it’s hurting our health. But you can turn this around.  

If you’re physically active, you can lower your risk for eight types of cancer. Specifically cancers of the breast, colon, bladder, kidney, lung, esophagus, endometrium and stomach.  

Being active can help with anxiety, sleep, mood, depression, blood sugar levels, and brain health. You’ll also lower your risk for heart disease, have more energy and less fatigue.  

For older adults, it can mean less falls and improved cognitive function.  

What’s great about being active, is that you start reaping the rewards instantly. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been inactive for a while.  Just start slowly with light physical activity and gradually increase it over time.