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RPT's Healthy Habits - Physical Activity

Posted by Stephanie Taylor on 10/15/2020

Physical Activity


The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity to attain the most health benefits.  Examples of moderate-intensity include, brisk walking, fast dancing, pushing a lawn mower, hiking, water aerobics, etc. Adults also need muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least 2 days each week.


Move more and sit less.

This recommendation is based on new evidence that shows a strong relationship between increased sedentary behavior and increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and all-cause mortality. All physical activity, especially moderate-to-vigorous activity, can help offset these risks.


Any amount of physical activity has some health benefits.

You can benefit from small amounts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity throughout the day. The first edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans stated that only 10-minute bouts of physical activity counted toward meeting the guidelines. The second edition removes this requirement to encourage Americans to move more frequently throughout the day as they work toward meeting the guidelines.


Physical activity has immediate health benefits.

For example, physical activity can reduce anxiety and blood pressure and improve quality of sleep and insulin sensitivity.


Meeting the physical activity guidelines consistently over time can lead to even more long-term health benefits.

  • For youth, physical activity can help improve cognition, bone health, fitness, and heart health. It can also reduce the risk of depression.
  • For adults, physical activity helps prevent 8 types of cancer (bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, stomach, and lung); reduces the risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), all-cause mortality, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and depression; and improves bone health, physical function, and quality of life.
  • For older adults, physical activity also lowers the risk of falls and injuries from falls.
  • For pregnant women, physical activity reduces the risk of postpartum depression.
  • For all groups, physical activity reduces the risk of excessive weight gain* and helps people maintain a healthy weight.

Physical activity can help manage more health conditions that Americans already have.

For example, physical activity can decrease pain for those with osteoarthritis, reduce disease progression for hypertension and type 2 diabetes, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve cognition for those with dementia, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease.

Adapted from: https://health.gov/our-work/physical-activity/current-guidelines/top-10-things-know