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Americans Are Not As Active As They Should Be For Health and Weight Loss

americans and exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. It prevents many medical conditions. It improves mental clarity. It’s an essential aspect of losing weight. With all those benefits, you would think people would want to be as active as possible. Sadly, we know now that’s not the case…

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published the first ever U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines back in 2008. These guidelines explained that at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of intense activity were ideal for optimal health. Have Americans been following these guidelines?

Not even close.

Are Americans Getting Enough Exercise?

A recent study found that the majority of Americans are not being as active as they should. In fact, most Americans are willfully ignoring widely-recommended physical fitness guidelines. The study looked at data found in National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. These questionnaires inquired about the physical fitness habits of over 27,000 men and women over the age of 18. What they found was truly disappointing.

america physical activity guidelines

The researchers found that only 65 percent of the population met the physical activity guidelines minimum amount of 150 minutes or 75 minutes of exertion. They also found that the average amount of hours spent completely sedentary throughout the day was about 6.4 hours. (This does not include time spent sleeping.)

While over half the population may be getting enough physical activity, it’s clear that there are still millions of people who are not getting anywhere near the recommended amount. This puts them at risk for serious health condtions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and more. It also increases the likelihood of becoming obese.

What can be done to get people to be more active?

How To Meet the Recommended Activity Guidelines

Getting adequate physical activity is a lot easier than many people may think. 75 to 150 minutes per week really is not that much, in the grand scheme of things. The best part is that this time does not need to occur all at once. In fact, it’s recommended that you break this activity up into small increments.

americans getting enough exercise for weight loss

So let’s think about this: Say you opt for 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. This can be divided into 30 minutes of moderate exercise for 5 days. That means you only have to exercise for half an hour at a time and you can even take two days off! “Moderate” exercise could consist of brisk walking, light jogging, aerobics, or swimming.

If you’re a busy person who is often pressed for time, opting for the 75 minutes of intense activity may be a better choice for you. This can be divded into 15 minutes of extreme, high-intensity exercise just five days a week. That means you only need 15 minutes out of the day for physical activity and you still get two days of rest. “Intense” exercise can consist of fast running, heavy weight-training, fast cycling, or extreme aerobics.

Obviously if you want to get in more physical activity, that’s great! Any and all physical activity will help improve your health (and your waistline)!


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