The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and National Center for Health Statistics released a report recently that found roughly 23 percent of the adult American population meet recommended amounts of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises.1
Recommendations for individuals between 18 and 64 years of age
These recommendations come from the US Department of Health and Human Services and say that individuals between 18 and 64 years of age should get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. In addition, people should participate in muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
Report measures only physical activity during leisure time
The report measures only physical activity during leisure time, which means that individuals who may be participating in strength building exercises as part of their occupation (such as construction, landscapers, or freight loaders) may be getting adequate activity, and not be accounted for. Also, individuals who are biking, walking or taking stairs to work may not be accounted for.
A serious need for activity among the adult population is depicted
However, the report does depict a serious need for activity among the adult population. And with less and less jobs supporting physical movement, this often does mean leisure time activity. For those who don’t find physical activity enjoyable, this can be a real problem. A problem because physical activity and movement is a foundational element of health, helping prevent many diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Physical exercise is also important for mental and emotional health
The recommendations suggest 30 minutes a day of an aerobic activity, which will largely depend on the current physical condition of the person doing the activity. The important factor of aerobic exercise is to sustain an elevated heart rate through continuous movement for an extended period of time. This helps strengthen the cardiorespiratory system – your heart and lungs.
Examples of aerobic exercise
- Jumping rope
- Step aerobics
Strength building exercises are recommended for 2 days a week. The reason strength building activity is important in addition to aerobic exercise in that it puts a load on the muscles and skeletal system, which promotes healthy muscle tone and bone growth. This is especially important to prevent osteoporosis and muscle wasting in the elderly. Similar to aerobic exercise, a strength building activity will depend on who is doing it. For an 18-year-old male athlete, activity will inherently be more intense than a 60-year-old frail woman. However, both of these individuals need to maintain their muscle mass. For the 18-year-old, perhaps weight training is an ideal activity, or chopping wood, building houses, hauling concrete. For the 60-year-old woman, water aerobics might be enough to tire the muscles, or very light hand weights.
Examples of Strengthening Activities
- Weight lifting
- Water aerobics
- Many outdoor activities such as construction, bucking hay, chopping wood
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Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia though naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.