New Exercise Guidelines Released in the US

by Paul Rogers on October 8, 2008

Gym cycle

Pic by Abraaj

New physical activity guidelines have just been released by the US Department of Health and Human Services. As they report 25.6% of adults in the US are medically obese — that’s a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 — there is an air of slight panic about this latest announcement. Here are the new adult guidelines, which include a few changes from previous guidelines.

  1. Adults should do 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, preferably spread throughout the week.
  2. Additional health benefits are provided by increasing to 5 hours (300 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both.
  3. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups performed on 2 or more days per week.

For more information, the physical activity guidelines site has much more information, including useful suggestions for people not used to exercise, and background information for professionals in the fitness sciences.

Physical activity is not all about losing weight — health advantages can accrue in the absence of weight loss — yet unless obese people can be trained or persuaded to cut calorie intake, getting the fat off will continue to be a struggle.

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