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Posted Nov 10 2008 6:04am

US Government Sets Physical Activity Guidelines


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) has just released the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, a comprehensive set of recommendations for people of all ages and physical conditions to easily fit physical activity into their daily lives.

These new physical activity guidelines represent thefirst timethat the Federal Government has issued comprehensive recommendations for the Nation. These recommendations are a basic foundation to healthier living and consumers will be looking to certified fitness professionals to design appropriate exercise programs to meet or exceed the general guidelines.

It’s important that the public understand that these recommendations do not necessarily mean stopping at the minimums, as research shows that adults can achieve greater health benefits by increasing their aerobic physical activity to five hours a week of moderate-intensity or two and one half hours a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. 

A preview of the guidelines include:

  • Children and Adolescents — One hour or more of moderate or vigorous aerobic physical activity a day, including vigorous intensity physical activity at least three days a week.

  • Adults — Adults gain substantial health benefits from two and one half hours a week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity.

  • Older adults — Older adults should follow the guidelines for other adults when it is within their physical capacity. If a chronic condition prohibits their ability to follow those guidelines, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.

  • Women during pregnancy — Healthy women should get at least two and one half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week during pregnancy and the time after delivery, preferably spread through the week.

  • Adults with disabilities — Those who are able should get at least two and one half hours of moderate aerobic activity a week, or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.

  • People with chronic medical conditions — Adults with chronic conditions get important health benefits from regular physical activity. They should do so with the guidance of a health care provider.

As you know, widespread awareness of these guidelines could have a tremendously positive impact on public health. It’s important that we work together to share this message and continue to encourage healthier lifestyles.

For more information about the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, visit or



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