Government Guidelines for Exercise: how much is enough?

Fitness Expert

Taking away obesity in America

How much physical activity do you need in a year, month, or day? Many might wonder this very question. Well, the government has laid out some guidelines that you can follow to make sure you are getting enough exercise.

For most adults on average, they need two and a half hours of exercise a week. But, this depends heavily on your age and the right level of fitness. For those sluggish types, the best way to stay fit is to do active things around the house. Go out and rake some leaves; mow the lawn; or take the dog for a brisk walk. More active adults should have their week's requirement of 75 minutes of more vigorous exercise. This could include: jogging, hiking, biking, or swimming. About 2 times a week on average, adults should do muscle-strengthening activities: push-ups, weight training, or heavy gardening. This is a minimum requirement for physical activity.

Children and teens are known to need more exercise than the average adult. They are suggested to engage in physical activity for a minimum of an hour each day. This could include any sport including: skateboarding, soccer, running, biking, or swimming. Three times a week, children and teens should also engage in muscle-strengthening activities such as sit-ups or tug-of-war, and bone-strengthening activities such as jumping rope or skipping.

These suggestions are much like the food pyramid, but for exercise. The guidelines come from the Health and Human Services Department. Their idea of these guidelines is to stop people from questioning how much exercise is enough. They therefore make it clear about how much exercise you really do need, and the different ways you can achieve just that.

However, the best thing to do is not question it, but be active. Get out and exercise whatever way you can. It's alright to start slowly if you are not someone who regularly engages in daily exercise. Some is better than nothing, and more is better than some.

The guidelines have been published to make people aware of the physical needs of their bodies. It's to show a nation of couch potatoes that being active is the most important tool to leading a healthy lifestyle. Research has concluded that a quarter of adults are not active in their leisure time, and they need to be aware that it is effecting their health.

What is worse is that these quarter of Americans are also raising children with the same inactive habits. Therefore the generation being raised right now could end up less healthy than their parents. Studies show that 1/3 of children in America are overweight, and 16 percent of those are obese.

Data has shown that regular exercise can cut the risk of heart attack and stroke by 20 percent. It can also reduce high blood pressure, chances of early death, and help those with type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, fractures, and some variations of depression.

So America, why are you still sitting on the couch?