The U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee today released a new set of recommendations for how much working out we all, from toddlers to senior citizens, need to be doing in order to maintain a baseline level of health. The days of maintaining health through diet alone are over, it is time for all of us to get our asses moving.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published the new guidelines Monday morning, and they go a little something like this:
- Children from three to five years old are to be physically active throughout the day; no rest for these little tyrants, you gotta get them early in life;
- Children and adolescents from ages six to 17 must do 60 minutes of “moderate-to-vigorous activity” every day;
- Adults, because they are adults, get to choose from 150 to 300 minutes of “moderate to vigorous physical activity” or 75 to 150 minutes of truly vigorous physical activity, or some equivalent combination of the two, and are encouraged to make at least some of that time “muscle strengthening activities” twice a week (oh hell yeah please step into my office);
- Older adults don’t get a minimum time commitment but are encouraged to pursue a mix of balance, aerobic, and muscle-strengthening activities;
- Pregnant and post-partum women are encouraged to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week.
The guidelines are somewhat vague about what constitutes light, moderate, or intense activity, but citizens are encouraged to (honestly) self-assess what their personal level of challenge is. For someone who walks every day, walking may not meet the “moderate-intensity” threshold, but may be appropriate for someone who heretofore spent most of their day lying down. If sitting motionless is a 0 on an intensity scale of 10, moderate intensity is defined as a 5 or a 6, and vigorous intensity is a 7 or 8.
Not only do you need to exercise, the committee specifically recommends the use of “progressive overload” in your new training regimen. If running is too hard, you can start with walking, or biking, or some light hiking, but once that becomes too easy, “People should be encouraged to progress to higher levels of physical activity as they become more fit,” the guidelines read. Why do this? There are several lists of benefits in the study itself, but the short answer is, as you might have guessed, your life will be better, you will be healthier, and you won’t die as fast. How does that sound?
I’m so excited for us all to be fit gods, please write me immediately with all your questions about lifting weights, I can’t wait to spot your bench.