America updates its physical activity guidelines, with one important change

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In the U.S. alone, an estimated $117 billion in annual health care costs and one-tenth of early deaths are associated with a lack of exercise.

In closing, the investigators emphasized, "Health professionals and policy makers should facilitate awareness of the guidelines and promote the health benefits of physical activity and support efforts to implement programs, practices, and policies to facilitate increased physical activity and to improve the health of the USA population".

For older children and adults, moderate-to-vigorous activity can include brisk walking, running or "anything that makes the heart beat faster", and adults should aim for about 2½ hours each week.

The new guidelines marshal a growing body of evidence that documents immediate benefits of exercise such as reduced anxiety, improved sleep and improved blood sugar control, and long-term benefits (of regular physical activity), including cognitive benefits, and significantly lower risks of heart disease and certain cancers.

However, the second edition released here at the American Heart Association meeting and online in JAMA removed the statement that only 10-minute bouts of physical activity counted toward meeting the guidelines and now say moving more frequently throughout the day helps toward meeting the recommendations.

Children aged 6 through 17 should get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per day and sessions of muscle-strengthening per week. It was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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"Everything counts", says Loretta DiPietro, an epidemiologist at George Washington University who helped write the review of the science on physical activity, upon which the new guidelines are based. Additionally, healthy weight management through physical activity can reduce the risk of progression of a current condition or the risk of developing a new chronic condition. And, while it's true that sitting for prolonged periods is bad for your health, the good news is that we can offset the damage by adding more physical activity to our days. Women are advised to do 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week during and after pregnancy.

Medicine moves faster every day.

About 80-percent of Americans don't get the recommended amount of physical activity.

Exercise can also improve cognition in those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or dementia, the guidelines say, and even reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Move more, sit less and get kids active as young as age 3, say new federal guidelines that stress that any amount and any type of exercise helps health.

A new addition to the guideline indicates that young children between the ages of 3 and 5 should engage in active play throughout the day to enhance growth and development. "We now know that you don't have to run for 30 minutes to see a health benefit".

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