‘Move more, sit less,’ government says in new exercise guidelines

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The group, which was not involved in crafting the guidelines, says that exercise isn't a cure for Alzheimer's, but it notes that physical activity and other lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Sallis is an active living researcher who is available to discuss the newly updated physical activity guidelines. Guidelines released Monday by the federal government show that most Americans are not getting the exercise they need, costing the health care system over $100 billion each year. The second edition, released this morning by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, recommend as before, daily physical activity to reduce the risk for many chronic diseases.

With a few exceptions, the advice in the new guidelines is not so different from what we were told in the 2008 guidelines.

But the update clarifies that even very short bursts of physical activity - on actions as mundane as taking the stairs, gardening, or parking the vehicle further from your destination - are good for you.

Physical activity helps manage more chronic health conditions. You don't necessarily need to go to the gym or take up jogging.

They should also do muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days a week.

Pregnant and post-partum women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio a week. But, no longer. The new guidelines conclude that all movement that helps you stay physically active is important.

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The advisory committee developed the physical activity guidelines based on the results of a systematic review assessing the science behind physical activity and health.

Even short bursts of exercise count towards the weekly total, like climbing stairs at work or parking your vehicle a little further from the grocery store with a goal of at least 22 minutes of movement a day. That being said, a majority of Americans simply aren't exercising enough.

Medicine moves faster every day. Things like this "can accumulate over the course of the day", DiPietro says.

The biggest change: Start young. According to the report, only around 26 percent of men and 19 percent of women actually get the recommended amount of physical activity on a daily basis. "People who sit a lot have an increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality, as well as an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon, endometrial, and lung cancers", the guidelines say.

There are new key guidelines for preschool children to be active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. As before, children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years should engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes per day, reported Richard Troiano, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues in the JAMA paper.

When brains are young, "it's the best opportunity" to set healthy habits that last, he said.

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