Physical activity guidelines were announced this month by the Department of Health and Human Services. The basic recommendations that Americans should accumulate 150 minutes of moderate activity per week have not really changed since the 1996 surgeon’s generals guidelines.
The message is simple, swim, bike, run, rake leaves do what you enjoy and do it everyday. Just keep moving. The difference is that the new guidelines include such activity as daily chores and there is no “one size fits all”. The recommendations are broken down into specific groups. Aerobics exercise remains to be the core of these recommendations but strength training and flexibility are also included.
Here are some ideas to help you incorporate physical activity into your day.
For The Time Crunched
Time-crunched, a little creativity will help. Instead of exercising five days a week try three days at a higher intensity. What works well is a Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday routine. Interval training can be done in such a way that you get a great workout in a short amount of time, warming up for five minutes, on a scale of 1-10 ( with one being easy and ten being all out effort) 6,7or 8 can be your higher intensity and 3,4 or 5 can be a recovery, followed by a cool down at 1 or 2.
Strength training should be done at a minimum of twice a week. My advice, train major muscles group to fatigue and move on. Body weight exercises can also be incorporated. Always remember to work on flexibility.
The Older Set
Older adults should try to accumulate 150 minutes of physical activity and at least two strength training sessions a week. Walking or joining an over 50 exercise class can help. Rubberized resistance can be used for strength. Strength training in a pool may be especially beneficial for those who may be arthritic or have a limited range of motion in certain muscle groups. Balance training should be incorporated and will be time well spent.
The guidelines stipulate 60 minutes of moderate activity daily for ages 6 to 17. In today’s world with exercise competing with Xbox this can seem like a challenge. It is up to adults to create the opportunity, given the opportunity children will be active, play and let their imaginations run wild. Do not expect them to work out like adults do, they tend to rest and starting up again. Children should exercise the good old fashion way, play kick ball, hide and seek, climb monkey bars and walk to school.
ThoseWho Can’t Get Enough
In the past we may have cautioned about doing more than 150 minutes of exercise, now experts are finding that with 150 minutes of exercise a 25% health risk reduction can be achieved, exercise 300 minutes a week and 40% health risk reductions have been achieved. To avoid a overuse injury mix up your routine, do not increase your intensity by more than 10% and remember to stretch.