24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825

Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
2 Hours/Week in Nature: Your Prescription for Better Health?Eating More Red Meat May Shorten Your LifeScared Safe: Pics of Sun's Damage to Face Boost Sunscreen UseFoods May Taste Better If You're SittingShould Air Quality Checks Be Part of Your Travel Planning?Guard Your Skin Against the Summer SunGetting Your Nutrients: From the Source or Supplements?Human Endurance May Have Its Limits: StudyThe Dangers of Being a People-PleaserFinancial Disaster May Prompt Self-Destructive BehaviorHow Much Coffee Is Too Much?Do You Really Need 10,000 Steps a Day?Worry Less for Better HealthCan the Bacteria in Your Belly Ease Your Worrying Mind?AHA News: Need a Break? A Vacation Really Can Be Good for You -- If It's Done RightHealthy Food May Boost MoodAre DIY Sunscreens Dangerous?Millennials Believe 'Narcissist' Label, But Don't Like ItMore Back-to-Back Heat Waves Will Come With Climate ChangeBody Adapts, Recovers From Occasional 'Pigging Out,' Study FindsCBD -- It's Everywhere, But Does It Work?Stay Safe While Spring CleaningCover Up! Don't Soak Up Those Sun RaysWant to Save Money While Shopping? Leave Your Phone HomeThree Ways to Improve Focus and ConcentrationSunscreen Chemicals Enter Bloodstream at Potentially Unsafe Levels: StudyCould You Be Short on Vitamin B12?How to Tame Morning ChaosTailoring Exercise to Your AgeSchool Bullying's Impact Can Last a Lifetime: StudyWellness Programs Take Hold in American WorkplacesAmericans Sitting More Than Ever, and Tech Is to BlameVeggies, Fruits and Grains Keep Your Heart PumpingSkipping Breakfast Could Be a Bad Move for Your HeartMany 'Gen Xers' Desolate as They Navigate Adulthood: StudyHow to Make Your Workplace a Healthier OneEmbracing 'Oneness' Boosts Satisfaction With Life: StudyAre Workplace Wellness Programs Worth It?Common Sleep Myths Endanger Public HealthGet Back to Nature to Put Stress at BayScience Says: Smiling Does Bring a Mood BoostIs Your Smartphone Making You Fat?Those Whitening Strips May Damage Your TeethDietary Supplements Do Nothing for You: StudyVoice-Assisted Tech Can Be a Driving HazardWhen Using Moisturizers With Sunscreen, Don't Miss Around the EyesKindness: 12 Minutes to a Better MoodWhy Holding a Grudge Is Bad for Your HealthMove More, Live LongerDo You Live in One of America's 'Healthiest Communities'?
Links
Related Topics

Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management

Even a 2-Minute Walk Counts in New Physical Activity Guidelines

HealthDay News
by By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Nov 12th 2018

new article illustration

MONDAY, Nov. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Take the stairs up to your office. Park a little further away from the grocery store. Walk your dog around the block. Carry out the trash.

Any amount of physical activity -- even two minutes' worth -- can add up to huge benefits for your immediate and long-term health, according to the new edition of the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Previously, the guidelines held that unless physical activity lasted 10 minutes or longer, it didn't count toward a person's recommended weekly activity goals.

But research has shown any small amount of activity provides a solid contribution to a person's health, according to the second edition of the guidelines unveiled Monday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Chicago.

"Physical activity is about finding opportunities to add movement throughout the day as part of a bigger commitment to healthy living," Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said during a media briefing on the guidelines.

"Inactivity causes 10 percent of premature mortality in the United States. That means if we can just get 25 percent of inactive people to be active and meet the recommendations, almost 75,000 deaths would be prevented in the United States," Giroir added.

Only 26 percent of men, 19 percent of women and 20 percent of teenagers currently get their recommended weekly amount of physical activity, according to HHS.

"This has health and economic consequences for the nation, with nearly $117 billion in annual health care costs attributable to failure to meet the aerobic physical activity recommended in the guidelines," Giroir noted.

The first edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines came out a decade ago, in 2008.

The new edition also highlights a broader array of short- and long-term benefits from physical activity, all based on scientific evidence:

  • Just a single bout of physical activity can sharpen your mind, reduce your anxiety, lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, and strengthen your body's ability to convert blood sugar into energy.
  • Regular physical activity can improve your brain health, reduce your risk of eight different forms of cancer, and lower your risk for excess weight gain.
  • Chronic health conditions improved by physical activity include osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, anxiety and depression.
  • Exercise also helps improve brain function in people with dementia, multiple sclerosis, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and Parkinson's disease.

"It's the cheapest prescription in the world, but most people don't want to fill it," said Dr. Eileen Handberg, a professor of cardiovascular medicine with the University of Florida's College of Medicine.

The weekly recommended amount of activity remains the same for adults -- at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, combined with muscle-strengthening activity on at least two days.

Examples of moderate activity include brisk walking, ballroom dancing, water aerobics or pulling weeds, according to the AHA. Vigorous activity can involve running, swimming laps, bicycling fast, aerobic dancing or working a shovel or hoe in the garden.

The guidelines now recommend that children aged to 5 be active throughout the day to enhance growth and development -- at least three hours a day. Kids aged 6 through 17 are recommended to have at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Pregnant and postpartum women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, while older adults should add balance training on top of their aerobic and muscle strengthening activities, the guidelines say.

"You need to get out and be active, whether you're a child or an adult, whether you're a pregnant woman, whether you have chronic disease -- there's no group that isn't affected by these guidelines," said Handberg, a member of the American College of Cardiology's Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Committee.

AHA President Dr. Ivor Benjamin said the association will adopt the guidelines as its official recommendations for physical activity.

"We urge other health groups and interested parties across the country to adopt the guidelines and join us in committing to help ensure more people get moving," Benjamin said in a statement.

The guidelines should form the foundation for policies supporting physical education in school, bike and pedestrian infrastructure in cities, and workplace promotion of exercise, Benjamin and Handberg said.

Physical activity is so important it should constitute a "fifth" vital sign for doctors, Handberg said.

"That ought to be a health care standard," Handberg said. "If you go to a health care provider, if I don't give you your BMI and I don't assess your physical activity, it's really not in the forefront of your mind, or mine as your provider."

Doctors hope that exercise will seem less daunting to people if everyone adopts the mindset that any physical activity is helpful.

"Patients should be reassured that they do not need large amounts of time or complex exercise regimens to be healthier," lead author Dr. Paul Thompson wrote in an editorial accompanying the guidelines' publication online Nov. 12 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Any activity is better than none," continued Thompson, a cardiologist with Hartford Hospital in Connecticut. "It also is possible to perform all activities on 1 or 2 days per week, because this yields health benefits similar to those achieved through activity on 3 or more days per week."

More information

For more on the intensity levels of different exercises, visit the American Heart Association.