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Physical Activity: Make Your Move!

New Year’s Day brings New Year’s resolutions. For many of us, those resolutions include losing weight and getting in shape. And key to both those goals is getting enough physical activity.

Just in time for 2019 New Year’s resolutions, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released updated guidelines for physical activity. Fortunately, the guidelines don’t expect everyone to become an elite, competitive athlete. Instead, the message is clear: To promote life-long health, get active and stay active!

Benefits of Physical Activity

Being physically active has benefits for people of all ages. Below are just a few of the many benefits of physical activity for children, teens, and adults.

Benefits for Children and Teens

  • Better bone health

  • Better weight status

  • Better cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness

  • Lower risk of depression

  • Better cognitive function

Benefits for Adults

  • Reduced or slowed weight gain

  • Lower risk for type 2 diabetes

  • Lower risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke

  • Better sleep

  • Reduced anxiety and risk of depression

  • Better bone health

  • Decreased risk of cancers of the bladder, esophagus, kidney, lung, stomach, breast, and endometrium

  • Reduced risk of falls and fall-related injuries in older adults

  • Better cognitive function and reduced risk of dementia

Our Consequences of an Inactive Lifestyle 3-D Display uses
anatomical models and clear text to explain how inactivity harms health.

Adult Physical Activity Recommendations

Just like under the previous guidelines, adults need a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. Moderate-intensity physical activity is any activity that gets you breathing harder but allows you to hold a conversation easily. At least 2 days a week, adults should also perform muscle-strengthening activities, such as doing push-ups, using hand-held weights, or even carrying groceries.

Under the previous guidelines, adult physical activity had to be performed in a minimum of 10-minute bouts. With the new guidelines, however, any amount counts! Look for ways to add more physical activity into your day, such as taking walk breaks at work, parking farther away from the store, using the stairs instead of the elevator, or working in your yard. The goal is to move more and sit less throughout the day, every day.

Our Benefits of Physical Activity 3-D Display uses swiveling panels with
3-D models to show the benefits of physical activity and the consequences of inactivity.

As part of their weekly physical activity regimen, older adults (ages 65 and older) should perform activities that incorporate balance training, aerobic activity, and muscle-strengthening activity. Balance training is important for fall prevention. Examples of balance training include practicing standing from a sitting position or walking heel-to-toe.

Child and Teen Physical Activity Recommendations

Encouraging children to be active is a great way to help them develop the healthy habit of life-long, regular physical activity. If they see you engaging in and enjoying regular physical activity, they’ll want to follow your example. Make physical activity a fun, family affair!

Young children (ages 3 to 5) should be active throughout the day, both in structured activities and in active play. Activities such as jumping, hoping, and skipping help strengthen young bones.

Our SpinSmart™ Physical Activity Wheel gets players
moving while learning about the benefits of physical activity.

Children and teens ages 6 through 17 should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. At least 3 days a week, their activity should include vigorous-intensity physical activity, muscle-strengthening activity, and bone-strengthening activity. Vigorous-intensity physical activity means that you are working out intensely enough so that you can say only a few words before you need to take a breath. Bone-strengthening activities include weight-bearing activities, such as jumping rope and running.

Work with Your Healthcare Professional

Adding more physical activity to your day can help you build a healthier, happier life. If being more physically active is one of your New Year’s resolutions, work with your healthcare professional to develop physical activity goals that are right for you. Make a commitment to regular physical activity. Remember: Everything you do that gets you moving counts, so have fun, and get moving!

To learn more about our educational physical activity resources, please visit our Physical Activity Section.

©2019 Health Edco®