New exercise guidelines suggest Americans start younger, move more

New exercise guidelines suggest Americans start younger, move more

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently updated its national exercise guidelines for the first time in 10 years. The main recommendations? No surprise: Americans should exercise more, and children should be encouraged to be physically active younger.

The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans have not changed much since 2008. Adults are still encouraged to moderately exercise for at least 150 minutes every week or vigorously exercise for at least 75 minutes per week. The guidelines also encourage strength training at least twice per week.

The guidelines encourage adults to move more, even if they are exercising in small bursts throughout the day. For example, adults are encouraged to take the stairs instead of the elevators and count those steps toward their daily physical activity minimum amount. Another way to sneak in exercise? Park the car farther away from the store entrance and walk the length of the parking lot and back.

The guidelines also encourage children to begin physical activity younger. They suggest that preschool children be active for at least three hours daily, which is not hard for kids in that age range who seem in perpetual motion. Older children and teenagers, however, are encouraged to do at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily.

Even things like walking the dog can help you take a step in the right direction. Exercise can improve your mental health, strengthen your immune system and help you live a longer life.

So, gather your friends and family and get active! You’ll all reap the benefits if you spend more time moving, and less time on the couch or in front of a screen.

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