New Exercise Guidelines Encourage Americans to Get Up And Move

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By : Suvarna Sheth

Americans looking to be more healthy can exercise in smaller segments in shorter bursts of time, according to new guidelines released by the government on Monday.

The new recommendations come 10 years after the first guidelines were released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008.

The panel noted that the benefits of movement reduce the risk of cancer, anxiety, and depression; improving cognitive function and sleep; aiding bone health and regulating weight gain in preschoolers; protecting against weight gain, gestational diabetes and postpartum depression in pregnant women and new mothers; and decreasing the risk of falls among older people.

The guidelines, issued by a committee appointed by the Department of Health and Human Services, does away with original guidance that physical activity should occur in 10-minute segments.

“Current evidence shows that the total volume of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is related to many health benefits; bouts of a prescribed duration are not essential,” the committee of health experts state in their document.

The new guidelines indicate adults to get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity each week.

They also state muscle-strengthening exercises should be incorporated two days a week.

Walking briskly at 2.5 to 4 miles per hour, playing volleyball or raking leaves are all considered moderate-intensity activity.

Examples of vigorous-intensity exercise include jogging, running, carrying heavy groceries or taking a strenuous fitness class.

Physical activity such as swimming and cycling can fall into either category, depending on how much energy is expended.

Adolescents ages 6 to 17 should get 60 minutes of vigorous activity every day, plus three days a week of activity that strengthens muscles, according to the recommendations.

For the first time, new guidelines include provisions for preschoolers.

They state that children ages 3 to 5 “should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development.”

The new physical activity guidelines were released at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions and can be accessed here.


  1. HHS Releases Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. 2018, November 12. Retrieved: