Recently the federal government released the first-ever comprehensive guidelines on physical activity. In case you're wondering what this means, it speaks about different levels of physical activity and the benefits that can be derived from physical activity at specific levels. The Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, consisting of 13 leading experts in the field of exercise science and public health, came together to determine the amount of physical activity necessary for each level based on scientific data gathered since 1996.
The findings echo what has been said many times by thousands of health, fitness and medical professionals. Physical activity is a crucial component to the prevention of many health related diseases. Evidence demonstrates that physically active individuals suffer far less from health related diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers, type-2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression.
The new guidelines break fitness into four levels explaining the health benefits received from working at each one. The levels are inactive, low activity, medium activity and high activity.
Inactive is defined as no activity beyond daily living activities.
Low activity is defined as beyond inactivity but below 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week.
Medium activity is defined as 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week.
High activity is defined as 300 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.
Some of the main points of interest associated with the research conducted by the committee:
- Regular physical activity reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes.
- Some physical activity is better than none.
- For most health outcomes, additional benefits occur as the amount of physical activity increases through higher intensity, greater frequency, and/or longer duration.
- Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. Additional benefits occur with more physical activity.
- Both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) physical activity are beneficial.
- Health benefits occur for children and adolescents, young and middle-aged adults, older adults, and those in every studied racial and ethnic group.
- The health benefits of physical activity occur for people with disabilities.
- The benefits of physical activity far outweigh the possibility of adverse outcomes.
There is quite a bit of information included within the guidelines and it is something all health professionals may want to read through. It also offers useful information for the layperson. There are clearly defined terms and examples of everyday people implementing physical activity into their lives.
Much of the research and data reinforces the idea that all people need to truly examine their fitness habits or lack there of. It has been said many different ways but the bottom line is this: physical activity reduces illness, improves the quality of life, makes you healthier, stronger and ultimately happier. You really can't lose by becoming physically active!
One of the most exciting and encouraging truths in life is that we can always become someone new. We never have to settle for who we are. - Scott Sorrell
Source: Physical Activity Guidelines