New Year Resolution: How much physical activity do I need to stay healthy?

Senior couple exercising

By: Eddy I. Airiohuodion, University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, PharmD. Candidate, 2017

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 21% of adults (about 1 in 5) meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines. Studies show that engaging in physical activity can improve health outcomes. People who are physically active tend to live longer and enjoy better health.

Health Benefits of Physical Activity

* Lowers risk for heart disease
* Reduces risk for type 2 diabetes
* Lowers risk for obesity and high cholesterol
* Reduces risk for stroke
* Reduces risk for depression

Physical activity as defined by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, is anything that gets your body moving. There are two forms of physical activity that are recommended to be performed weekly to improve your general well being –AEROBIC & STRENGTH TRAINING.

AEROBIC EXERCISE: Aerobic exercise, also known as “cardio” requires the pumping of oxygenated blood by the heart to deliver oxygen to working muscles. The Department of Health Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. The total weekly time requirement can be spread out during the course of the week.

Examples of MODERATE aerobic exercise:

* Walking fast
* Swimming
* Water aerobics
* Riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
* Playing doubles tennis
* Pushing a lawn mower

Examples of VIGOROUS aerobic exercise:

* Jogging or running
* Swimming laps
* Riding a bike fast or on hills
* Playing singles tennis
* Playing basketball

Strengthening exercise: Strengthening exercise requires a person to work muscles against resistance. It is recommended that strengthening exercise be done at least twice weekly with a single set of each exercise. Aim at performing between 12 and 15 repetitions for each set for a good body tone.

Examples of STRENGTH TRAINING:

* Free weights or barbells
* Elastic bands
* Stairs
* Climbing hills
* Playing basketball

GENERAL TIPS:

* Register at a local gym or find friends who will be willing to exercise with you.
* If your goal is to stay fit, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
* If your goal is to lose weight, you may need to exercise even more than 150 minutes per week.
* If you sit in front of desk all day, for every one hour worked, walk for 5 minutes.

Helpful sites:

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/index.htm https://www.hhs.gov/ https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/28/well/move/work-walk-5-minutes-work.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FExercise http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1008234

elderlyexercising.jpg

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