Get Up, Stand Up

New federal guidelines on physical activity.

In November, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued an update to its Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, first published in 2008. This second edition, with a decade of new research at its disposal, includes one major change to previous recommendations: “Elimination of the requirement for physical activity of adults to occur in bouts of at least 10 minutes.”

While the first edition stated in its key guidelines for adults that, “Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes,” the amended version simply maintains that adults should engage in 2 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise or 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week, without suggesting a minimum duration to maximize health benefits. Further, the guidelines state, “Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none.”

So, get up. Move. Any physical activity at all is beneficial to your health. Daily activities such as walking briskly or general home repair are suggested for moderate-intensity aerobic activity, and heavy yard work such as shoveling snow can count for vigorous intensity. Health.gov


This article originally appeared in our April 2019 issue.

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