Physical Activity and Your Health

If you currently get regular physical activity, congratulations! But if you’re not yet getting all the activity you need, you have lots of company.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 60 percent of Americans are not meeting the recommended levels of physical activity.

Fully 16 percent of Americans are not active at all.

Overall, women tend to be less active than men, and older people are less likely to get regular physical activity than younger individuals.

What does it mean to get “regular physical activity?” To reduce the risk of heart disease, adults need only do about 30 minutes of moderate activity on most, and preferably all, days of the week.

This level of activity can also lower your chances of having a stroke, colon cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other medical problems.

If you’re also trying to manage your weight and prevent gradual, unhealthy weight gain, try to get 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week.

At the same time, watch your calories. Take in only enough calories to maintain your weight.

Those who are trying to keep weight off should aim a bit higher: Try to get 60–90 minutes of moderate-intensity activity daily, without taking in extra calories.

If you’re not as active as you might be, take a moment to consider why. Maybe you’re just in the habit of traveling by car or bus, even when you’re not going far.

In your free time, perhaps it’s tempting to sit down in front of the TV or computer rather than do something more vigorous.

It’s easy to get busy or tired and decide that it’s just simpler to put off that brisk walk or bike ride. But when you think about the serious problems that physical inactivity can create for your health and the enormous rewards of getting regular activity you may want to reconsider.

Enjoy your best health with physical activity.

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