The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the physical activity guidelines for Americans for 2008. According to HHS, “Adults gain substantial health benefits from 2 1/2 hours a week of moderate aerobic physical activity,” and over time, the HHS has found exercise produces long-term health benefits. It reduces early death, stroke, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, colon and breast cancer, depression, and type 2 diabetes. It also improves bone density, cardiorespiratory systems, and thought processes.
The HHS found some exercise is better than none, even if it just 10 minutes. The HHS has also found the more physically active you are, the greater the health benefits. They discovered moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk, gardening, water aerobics, or ballroom dancing for 2 1/2 hours a week improves health. For even better health, the HHS recommends adults increase their moderate aerobic activity to 5 hours a week. However, if individuals want to do more vigorous exercise—jump roping, swimming, biking, martial arts, hiking, backpacking, race walking, or jogging—individuals can exercise for 2 1/2 hours a week to achieve the same benefits found in 5 hours of moderate exercise.
All adults and the elderly are also encouraged to include some sort of strength training in their exercise routines. This would include lifting weights or doing push ups, jumping jacks, pull ups, and sit-ups or heavy gardening at least twice a week for at least twenty minutes each time. Those over sixty-five years old should also incorporate balance and coordination exercises into their routines because as people age they are at a greater risk for falling.
To learn about weight lifting read Weight Lifting Basics and The Weight Lifting Advantage. To learn about walking read Stay Fit: Walk Off Those Extra Pounds. If you’re interested in Yoga read Yoga Basics. There is also information on calories and swimming in Wash Away Calories as You Swim and basic information on what you need to know in relation to Getting Started with Swimming for Fitness. If you’re interested in setting up a home gym for under $290 read Create a Gym at Home.