With the New Year just around the corner, many people are beginning to form New Year’s resolutions. If your resolution is to improve your own and your family’s health, an increase in physical activity is a great place to start! The US Department of Health and Human Services released the Second Edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which added in new and updated physical activity requirements, as well as a more detailed list of the many benefits of physical activity. Here are a few key takeaways from the new guidelines:
- Preschool-aged Children Should be Active throughout the Day: Children aged 3 – to 5 should be physically active for at least 3 hours a day. Adults with preschool aged kids in their life should encourage activity of various intensities throughout the day.
- Kids Need 1 Hour of Play Each Day: Children aged 6-17 should primarily focus on aerobic activity that gets their hearts racing, as well as bone and muscle strengthening activities such as jumping rope or playing on playground equipment. Bone strengthening activities are particularly important during this age group as the most bone mass is gained right before and during puberty.
- Adults Need a Variety of Physical Activity: Adults should aim for 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate intensity physical activity, such as walking briskly or doing yard work, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, such as swimming laps or jogging. Adults should also aim for at least 2 days a week of muscle strengthening activity, like weight lifting or heavy gardening.
- Move More and Sit Less: Interrupting sedentary behavior with any intensity of activity can have health benefits, since increased sedentary behavior has been linked to an increase risk of heart disease and all-cause mortality. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking further away than usual at the grocery store to get some extra activity into your day.
Adding physical activity into your daily routine can help to improve mood, better your sleep quality, reduce blood pressure, and improve insulin sensitivity. Physical activity can also help individuals to maintain a healthy weight and manage health conditions. Try adding any type and duration of physical activity into your day to put you on the right path to improve your health!