November 28, 2018
How Much Should You Exercise? New Guidelines Give Recommendations.
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) has established new recommendations on exercise. The ODPHP was created by Congress in 1976 to lead efforts in disease prevention and health promotion in the Unites States. The new guidelines give advice on how much and what types of exercise are beneficial in helping overall health. These guidelines are evidence based, meaning the recommendations have been put forth based on scientific studies of what works best. The guidelines break down the exercise recommendations based on age ranges, 3 to 5 years old, 6 to 17 year olds, adults, and older adults.
The first age range is 3 to 5 years old. The guidelines recommend simply to encourage children of this age to be physically active. This means being active throughout the day. Activity during these ages promotes a child’s growth and development.
The second age group is 6 to 17 year olds. The guidelines begin to be more specific. The recommendations are:
- Aerobic activity: Get your heart pumping! 60 minutes or more per day of moderate to vigorous activity at least 3 days a week.
- Muscle strengthening: Part of the 60 minutes of exercise should include building muscle. So, any activity that makes your muscles work harder than usual. Muscle-strengthening activities can be unstructured and part of play, such as playing on playground equipment.
- Bone strengthening: As part of the 60 minutes, children and adolescents should do bone strengthening activities. Running, jumping rope, basketball, tennis, are all examples of excellent bone strengthening exercises.
The third age group are Adults ages 18 to 64 years old:
- Aerobic exercise: Should get at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes of Moderate exercise per week, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.
Moderate-Intensity Activities • Walking briskly (2.5 miles per hour or faster) • Recreational swimming • Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour on level terrain • Tennis • Active forms of yoga (for example, Vinyasa or power yoga) • Ballroom or line dancing • General yard work and home repair work • Exercise classes like water aerobics
Vigorous-Intensity Activities • Jogging or running • Swimming laps • Tennis (singles) • Vigorous dancing • Bicycling faster than 10 miles per hour • Jumping rope • Heavy yard work (digging or shoveling, with heart rate increases) • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack • High-intensity interval training (HIIT) • Exercise classes like vigorous step aerobics or kickboxing
- Muscle strengthening: Engage in activities that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week. Some examples of muscle strength exercises are lifting weights, working with resistance bands, and doing calisthenics that use body weight for resistance (such as push-ups, pull-ups, and planks).
The fourth age group are Older Adults 65 years old and older. Being more mature is not an excuse to stop exercising. The key is to pick a level of physical activity that is comfortable for you. Focusing on balance training, aerobic and muscle strengthening activities are important. If 150 minutes of physical activity is not possible due to chronic medical conditions, then be as physically active as you can. The benefits of exercise in older adults include lowering the risk of dementia, helping to perceive a better quality of life, and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Take home message: If you aren’t exercising, then start. Do something. Get moving. Get a routine that is comfortable for you. And remember, exercise has numerous health benefits across all age groups!
For more information, please go to https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/PAG_ExecutiveSummary.pdf
Dr. Anthony Sayegh, D.O.
Assistant Clinical Professor Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Clinical Professor Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine