Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

National Exercise Guidelines Now Say 'Just Move'

National Exercise Guidelines Now Say 'Just Move'

The guidelines, which emphasize decreasing sitting time for adults, say the failure to meet these levels leads to about $117 billion in annual health care costs and 10 percent of all premature death.

A major update to the USA physical activity guidelines, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, offers a solution. "Some physical activity is better than none", wrote the authors, adding that "virtually everyone benefits from increased activities" and "even short episodes of small amounts of physical activity are beneficial".

With two thirds of adults in the United States overweight or obese, the new guidelines are an effort to fight the epidemic. At least three times a week, exercise should be vigorous and include muscle- and bone-strengthening activities like climbing on playground equipment or playing sports. All of these minutes of activity count toward the 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity recommended for adults each week and the 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity recommended for youths each day.

- The JAMA editorial, "New Physical Activity Guidelines - A Call to Activity for Clinicians and Patients", by Paul D. Thompson, M.D., Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut, and Thijs M.H. Eijsvogels, Ph.D., Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

There are immediate health benefits, attainable from a single bout of activity, including reduced anxiety and blood pressure, improved quality of sleep, and improved insulin sensitivity. In 2008, when the first "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans" were released, government scientists could assert only that adequate levels of physical activity helped reduce the risk for breast and colon cancer. The findings were published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Additionally, healthy weight management through physical activity can reduce the risk of progression of a current condition or the risk of developing a new chronic condition.

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One key change: It used to be thought that aerobic activity had to be done for at least 10 minutes. Evidence suggests that more dedicated, accessible spaces in which to be physically active make it easier for individuals and communities to incorporate this into a daily routine.

Exercise can also improve cognition in those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or dementia, the guidelines say, and even reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The new guidelines prescribe activity throughout the day for preschool children to enhance growth and development.

Move more, sit less and get kids active as young as age 3, say new federal guidelines that stress that any amount and any type of exercise helps health.

"It is hard to convey the health benefits of physical activity in a way that does not sound like it is a "cure all", wrote doctors Brett Giroir and Don Wright, who both work under the US Secretary for Health.

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