Subjects: Behavioral health
Chronic diseases affect 100 million Americans, cause 70% of all deaths and chew up two-thirds of the money we spend on health.
We can avoid much of the burden, both financial and physical, by getting off our collective duffs. More than half of us don’t get enough exercise, and a quarter of us don’t get any. The unhealthy lifestyle becomes a death sentence via obesity, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer.
That’s why the Department of Health and Human Services just released the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, a set of concrete recommendations about what we need to do and how long we need to do it.
The Guidelines assure us that we don’t have to join health clubs, and that most of us don’t need to consult with a physician before starting up. They state that we need at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity like fast walking or raking leaves.
We should also undertake bone and muscle strengthening activities twice a week. Lifting weights, doing pushups or even gardening does the trick.
Furthermore, once someone gets into decent shape, he or she can replace moderate activity with vigorous activity (e.g. swimming, jogging) which provides the same benefit in about half the time.
Importantly, the Guidelines state that just 10 minutes of activity every day is enough to start seeing benefits. Something really is better than nothing!