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All Americans should be regularly physically active to improve overall health and fitness and to prevent many adverse health outcomes. Physical activity affects many health conditions, and the specific amounts and types of activity that benefit each condition vary. Just a few of the never ending benefits of being physically active include;

  • Lower risk of early death
  • Lower risk of coronary heart disease
  • Lower risk of stroke
  • Lower risk of high blood pressure
  • Lower risk of adverse blood lipid profile
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of metabolic syndrome
  • Lower risk of colon cancer
  • Lower risk of breast cancer
  • Prevention of weight gain
  • Weight loss, particularly when combined with reduced calorie intake
  • Improved cardio respiratory and muscular fitness
  • Prevention of falls
  • Reduced depression
  • Better cognitive function (for older adults)
  • Better functional health (for older adults)
  • Reduced abdominal obesity
  • Lower risk of hip fracture
  • Lower risk of lung cancer
  • Lower risk of endometrial cancer
  • Weight maintenance after weight loss
  • Increased bone density
  • Improved sleep quality

What excuse do you have that outweighs the benefits of physical activity?


Four Categories of Aerobic Activity

Classification of Total Weekly Amounts of Aerobic Physical Activity into Four Categories

Levels of Physical Activity

Range of Moderate-Intensity Minutes a Week

Summary of Overall Health Benefits

Comment

Inactive No activity beyond baseline None Being inactive is unhealthy.
Low Activity beyond baseline but fewer than 150 minutes a week Some Low levels of activity are clearly preferable to an inactive lifestyle.
Medium 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week Substantial Activity at the high end of this range has additional and more extensive health benefits than activity at the low end.
High More than 300 minutes a week Additional Current science does not allow researchers to identify an upper limit of activity above which there are no additional health benefits.
  • Inactive is no activity beyond baseline activities of daily living.
  • Low activity is activity beyond baseline but fewer than 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week or the equivalent amount (75 minutes, or 1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Medium activity is 150 minutes to 300 (5 hours) minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week (or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity a week). In scientific terms, this range is approximately equivalent to 500 to 1,000 metabolic equivalents (MET) minutes a week.
  • High activity is more than the equivalent of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.

Which category do you fall under? How can you raise it to the next level?


Types of Physical Activity

  • Aerobic activity, also called endurance or cardio activity,  is when the body’s large muscles move in a rhythmic manner for a sustained period of time

–      Examples: brisk walking, running, bicycling, jumping rope or swimming

  • Muscle-strengthening activity, also known as resistance training, causes the body’s muscles to work or hold against an applied force or weight

–      Examples: lifting weights, using elastic bands, or body weight for resistance like climbing a tree or doing push-ups

  • Bone-strengthening activity, often called weight-bearing or weight loading activity, produces a force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength

–      Examples: jumping jacks, brisk walking, running, weight-lifting

  • 3 components
    • Intensity- how hard a person is working, moderate (brisk walking), vigorous (running) or how much weight or force is used relative to how much a person is able to lift
    • Frequency- how often a person does the aerobic activity or muscle strengthening activity
    • Duration/Repetitions- how long a person does an activity in any one session or how many times a person lifts a weight

 

Do you get all 3 types of physical activity each week?


Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults

  1. All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
  2. For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
  3. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.
  4. For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.
  5. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.

Do you meet these guidelines?


Tips

  1. Find an activity that is fun and interests you.
  2. Pencil activity into your schedule like it is any other appointment.
  3. Find your barriers to activity and create a solution to each barrier; choose the best one to implement this week.
  4. Enlist support; friends, family members, co-workers
  5. You will falter along the way and that is okay, just avoid the all-or-nothing trap
  6. Plan for high-risk situations; Ex. Business travel: bring exercise bands with you to use in the hotel.
  7. Find stress relief through activity.
  8. Explore new activities.
  9. Implement small changes each day; Ex. Parking farther away, taking the stairs, getting up from your desk every hour.
  10. ALWAYS PLAN AHEAD.

If you need more tips to fit in more physical activity, please e-mail me and I will help you to implement it into your life!


Resources

•       http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter1.aspx

•       http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/Chapter2.aspx

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