More exercise achieves more health benefits

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The government guidelines both in the US and UK has been that you need to do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (dog walking) most days of the week to achieve health benefits. However it is now known that although there are some benefits from this amount of exercise, to achieve the real benefits such as reducing the onset of disease and cardiac improvement more vigorous and longer sessions are needed.

Many sports medicine professionals are rejoicing as they have been saying this for a long time.

However researchers with the federal government, the American College of Sports Medicine ACSM and the American Heart Association (AHA) all still stressing that getting somebody started with even a moderate quantity and at a moderate intensity is good for overall health. But more will bring more gains. They are also aware that for many overweight, inactive people, guidelines that seem almost unachievable will frighten them away from doing any exercise, so ‘some is better than nothing’ is still an important adage.

So now the guidelines have been raised and not only includes aerobic activity but strength training as well, which has never been included in the guidelines before.

The new guidelines in summary state:

ADULTS

Adults should aim for at least 2.5 hours of “moderate” physical activity a week and up to 5 hours a week if possible. Moderate was defined as, for example, water aerobics or brisk walking. This equates to sessions of 30-60 minutes five days a week.

If the activity is vigorous, defined as running, race cycling, rowing etc, then the time of the activity can be reduced to 75 minutes and up to 2.5 hours per week. This translates to 25 minutes three days a week, going up to 30 minutes five days a week.

Strength training was never part of the guidelines although this has long been recommended by the ACSM. The guidelines now state that moderate to vigorous weight training or some other strength activity that incorporates all the major muscle groups should be practiced at least twice a week. Weight training can include formal training with free weights or multi gyms, the use of a persons own body weight or heavy gardening such a laying paving.

CHILDREN

Children and adolescents should be moderately to vigorously active for an hour at least three days a week. They should also incorporate muscle- and bone-strengthening exercises into their activity three days a week.

MIDDLE AGED AND OLDER ADULTS

Older adults should follow the recommendations for all adults as much as they can. But, if limited, should do as much as they can. If falling is a risk, the routines should include balance-improvement movements.

These new guidelines are based on a thorough review of scientific research stretching over a decade and are the most comprehensive ever compiled.

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