If you are one of the millions of Americans looking for ways to improve your health this year, you’re not alone. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released their updated Physical Activity Guideline for Americans. According to the latest guidelines, adults should include the following in their fitness routines:
- Aerobic exercise
- Strengthening exercise
- Balance training
By using this three-pronged approach to health and wellness, Americans can improve daily functions and reduce the risk of chronic diseases and injuries. Today, nearly half of all American adults suffer from one or more preventable chronic diseases, but research has shown that nearly 70% can be vastly improved upon with regular physical activity.
Aerobic exercise, or cardio, gets your blood pumping and often makes you short of breath. This type of physical activity is good for the heart and can help reduce stress and anxiety. Running, biking, hiking, swimming, and dancing are all great ways to get your weekly dose of cardio exercise.
Strengthening exercises, including weight lifting and resistance training, help to develop and strengthen the bones and muscles in your body. Weight lifting, rock climbing, and pull-ups are all great examples of strengthening exercises.
Balance training can reduce the risks of falls and accidents for adults of all ages. Walking backwards, standing on one leg, or doing yoga are all great examples of balance training.
According to the updated Physical Activity Guideline, “Regular physical activity is one of the most important things people can do to improve their health. Moving more and sitting less have tremendous benefits for everyone, regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, or current fitness level.” The benefits of regular exercise can be felt almost immediately and even short amounts of exercise will improve health.
The fitness recommendations for adults are:
- Move more and sit less – some physical activity is better than none
- A minimum of 150-300 minutes of moderate cardio activity weekly or 75-150 minutes of vigorous cardio activity weekly
- Two or more days per week of muscle-strengthening activity
Aging adults can adhere to the same guidelines, with an added focus on balance training. Exercise routines should be created to mirror the participants’ individual level of fitness. Additionally, older adults and those with chronic conditions should meet with a doctor before starting a new program.
To read more about the updated Physical Activity Guideline for Americans, please visit https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf.
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