Any amount of physical activity — even two minutes’ worth — can add up to huge benefits for your immediate and long-term health, according to the new edition of the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Previously, the guidelines held that unless physical activity lasted 10 minutes or longer, it didn’t count toward a person’s recommended weekly activity goals.
The first edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines came out a decade ago, in 2008. The new edition also highlights a broader array of short- and long-term benefits from physical activity, all based on scientific evidence.
The guidelines now recommend that children aged to 5 be active throughout the day to enhance growth and development — at least three hours a day. Kids aged 6 through 17 are recommended to have at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
Pregnant and postpartum women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, while older adults should add balance training on top of their aerobic and muscle strengthening activities, the guidelines say.
“You need to get out and be active, whether you’re a child or an adult, whether you’re a pregnant woman, whether you have chronic disease — there’s no group that isn’t affected by these guidelines,” said Handberg, a member of the American College of Cardiology’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Committee.