Physical Activity: A Key to Good Health
In 2008 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines recommend:
- Children and adolescents need 1 hour or more of physical activity each day, for 5 or more days a week.
- Adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g. brisk walking) every week, preferably in sessions of 20 minutes or more, scattered throughout the week. Adults also need muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.
In Delaware, 41.7% of adults do not meet any of the guidelines, and only 20% of adults meet both aerobic and strength-building guidelines (2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey). A majority of public high school students (56.7%) do not meet the guideline of 60 minutes a day 5 days a week (2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey).
Healthy physical activity includes aerobic activity (walking, bicycling, swimming, etc.), muscle strengthening activities, and activities to increase balance and flexibility. Regular physical activity is important for good health, and is especially important for weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.
Physical activity helps to:
- Maintain or lose weight
- Manage or prevent stress
- Reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Reduce risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and several types of cancer
- Reduce arthritis pain and associated disability
- Reduce risk for osteoporosis and injury from falls
- Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
- Increase energy, strength, and stamina
More About Physical Activity
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