By Daniel Williams
Americans don’t move enough. That’s the theme of a recent study published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, “approximately 80 percent of U.S. adults and adolescents are insufficiently active.”
And that inactivity comes with a cost.
The study revealed that, “an estimated $117 billion in annual healthcare costs and about 10 percent of premature deaths are associated with inadequate physical activity.”
Ironically, the new guidelines actually sound a lot like the old guidelines that were released ten years ago.
The report recommends an hour of “moderate-to-vigorous” activity each day for children 6 to 17. Activities mentioned include: “climbing on playground equipment or playing basketball.”
For adults, “moderate-to-vigorous activity can include brisk walking, running or anything that makes the heart beat faster.”
The guidelines recommend adults get their heart rate up at least 2-3 hours each week or roughly 20 minutes of activity a day.
“When we move more, we have better cardiovascular health, we are stronger and less susceptible to disease, and we feel better,” said Dr. Brett P. Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services. “Physical activity can help manage chronic conditions that many Americans already have.”
Chronic conditions were of specific emphasis in this edition of the study, with the updated guidelines claiming exercise can “reduce symptoms of anxiety, slow the progression of hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, and help prevent eight types of cancer in adults.”
The results also found that “exercise can improve cognition in those with attention-deficit hyper-activity disorder or dementia.”
Just do it
While the new edition also agrees that people should do something exercise-related (as did the first edition), it’s not as hung up on “exercising in ten-minute blocks.”
The bigger key, according to Giroir, is to stand more and sit less. Basically, to be more active. “The new guidelines demonstrate that, based on the best science, everyone can dramatically improve their health just by moving – anytime, anywhere and by any means that gets you active.”