Moving 2019

There is no doubt about the fact that physical activity is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.

The Department of Health and Human Services in the US has just published an update on guidelines for physical activity for Americans. These guidelines were presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2018.

For the first time they include recommendations for the youngest group, 3 to 5 years of age, also reviewing the evidence supporting a variety of newly established benefits of physical activity across a variety of populations.

On the previous guidelines, aerobic physical activity for adults had to be accumulated in sessions lasting at least 10 minutes. Current evidence shows that the total volume of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is related to many health benefits; bouts of a prescribed duration are not essential.

Sufficient physical activity is defined as at least 150 minutes  of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and 2 days per week of muscle-strengthening activity for adults, and at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and 3 days per week of muscle- strengthening activity for youths.

Preschool-aged children (ages 3-5 years) should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Older adults should do physical activity that includes balance training, as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

Benefits of increased physical activity include lower risk of mortality, lower risk of cardiovascular events and associated risk factors (hypertension and diabetes), and lower risk of many cancers, including bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, lung, and stomach.

Additional improvements are seen in cognition, lower risk for dementia, anxiety and depression, improved bone health, lower risk of falls, and associated injuries.

Moving more and sitting less will benefit nearly everyone. Individuals performing the least physical activity benefit most by even modest increases in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

The benefits of physical activity on overall health and wellness cannot be overstated. Some physical activity is better than none, and more physical activity is even better. Physical activity has been described as the best buy in public health.

Clinicians cannot afford to allow patients to miss out on this inexpensive path to healthier lives.



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