Updated recommendations for physical activity

August 17, 2007

ATLANTA (GA) – Earlier this month, a revised recommendation for the amount of physical activity most adults should be getting every day was announced by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. To maintain good health adults need to participate in physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes on five days each week, or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 20 minutes on three days each week. The recently revised guidelines are essentially an innovative way for adults between the ages of 18 and 65 to get in a minimum amount of beneficial physical activity each week. These guidelines are more flexible than those in the past, allowing for a combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity activity to meet minimum guidelines.

“This is a change from the 1995 guidelines that recommended 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week,” said Stuart Brown, M.D., director of the Division of Public Health. “Mixing up vigorous activity such as running for 20 minutes twice a week and brisk walking for thirty minutes or more three times a week are good suggestions,” Brown said.

The report released earlier this month updated 1995 recommendations on the types and amounts of physical activity needed by healthy adults to improve and maintain health. The 1995 study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine. A panel of scientists, including physicians, epidemiologists, exercise specialists, and public health specialists reviewed pertinent data including primary research articles and reviews published since the original recommendations were issued in 1995.

According to the report, activity can be broken down into ten-minute increments. For instance, walk fast for ten minutes, ride your bike for ten minutes, and swim for ten minutes and you’ve reached the goal. However, ten minutes should be the minimum segment when aiming to reach daily exercise goals.

Of course, you don’t have to stop at 30 minutes. Doing more than 20 or 30 minutes a day will provide even more health benefits. With today’s busy lifestyles, however, it’s reassuring to know that you can maintain health with vigorous activity twenty minutes twice a week and more moderate physical activity three times a week, even breaking it into 10 minutes increments of activity.

In March 2005, Governor Sonny Perdue and DHR launched the Live Healthy Georgia campaign, an initiative designed to raise awareness about how to: Be Active, Eat Healthy, Be Smoke Free, Get Checked, and Be Positive. The principal message of the campaign is that moderate lifestyle changes such as improving food choices and getting more physical activity can have a significant impact on health. For more information about the Live Healthy Georgia Campaign visit www.livehealthygeorgia.org.

For information, contact:
Lisa Moery, 404-463-2299

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