Small increases in your activity level throughout the day can have a significant impact on your health. This is the premise of the latest guidelines for physical activity. In October 2008, the federal government released exercise recommendations to the public for the first time in history. These recommendations were developed based on the understanding that increases in physical activity levels during the day will result in long-term heath benefits. The fitness goals of the guidelines can be met through a combination of activities of daily living (e.g. housework such as vacuuming) and aerobic exercise (e.g. brisk walking).
The government offers separate exercise recommendations based on age. The guidelines are as follows:
Youth 6-17 years:
1. 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity that includes aerobic exercise performed at a moderate- to vigorous-intensity
2. 3 days or more a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
3. 3 days or more a week of muscle- and bone-strengthening exercises
Adults 18-64 years and adults 65 years and older:
1. 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, or
2. 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, or
3. A combination of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week, and
4. 2 days or more of 1 set of 8 to 12 repetitions of moderate- or high-intensity strength-training exercises of the major muscle groups
Additional recommendations for adults 65 years and older:
1. If chronic health conditions are present, exercise should be performed based on what current physical limitations and abilities allow
2. Balance exercises should be performed to prevent risk of falling
3. Intensity level attempted is based on fitness level
4. Acquire an understanding of how chronic health conditions may affect ability to safely exercise
If you are just starting an exercise program or you have limited time during the day, health benefits can still be achieved if the daily exercise bouts are broken down into 10 minute segments spread throughout the day for a total of 30 minutes or more. When fitness improves or time allows, you can increase the duration of the exercise segments toward the goal of one session of at least 30 minutes. It should be noted that additional health benefits can be achieved by both the adult and older adult populations by increasing activity levels to 300 minutes or more of moderate-intensity exercises per week; or, 150 minutes or more of vigorous-intensity activities per week. Increasing the intensity and/or frequency of physical activity as time goes on will result in greater health benefits as well.
Below are some sample workouts based on age as recommended by the federal government's 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans:
Youth: Children differ naturally in their patterns of movement from adults. They tend to engage in intermittent exercise alternating it with short periods of rest. Therefore, any amount of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity performed throughout the day counts toward the recommendations.
Sample activity for a day: Jump rope for 10 minutes, climb on play-structure for 15 minutes, play tag for 20 minutes, ride bike for 15 minutes
Adolescents: Combining exercise with social activities will help to promote fitness while fostering friendships in this age group.
Sample activity for a day: Brisk walk with friends for 15 minutes, dancing with friends for 45 minutes
Adults and older adults:
Sample activity for a day: Warm-up for 5 minutes at a slow walk, Briskly walk for 30 minutes, cool-down for 5 minutes at a slow walk, perform resistance band exercises for strength training
For more examples of exercise sessions and/or for more information about the federal government's guidelines please visit www.health.gov/paguidelines
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.
Labels: adult's exercise, children's exercise, exercise recommendations, older adult's exercise, physical activity