If you were to take a gander at how many American adults get the recommended amount of exercise each week, what would you guess? One thing is for sure, physical activity trends in the U.S. could use a tuneup.
Just as a gauge, here are the guidelines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults should be getting each week:
- At least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (like walking or leisurely biking);
- 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (such as running or rowing);
- Strength training or other resistance training should be done at least twice a week for all the major muscle groups.
Physical activity trends in America
Knowing that, would it surprise you that only 2 in 10 American adults get the recommended amount of physical activity per week? While some of the remaining 80 percent get in enough aerobic or resistance training, nearly half of the population does not meet either of these guidelines.
In fact, according to the statistics, more than a quarter of adults aged 18 and older do not spend any time engaging in physical activity. None! That includes small things like walking the dog, gardening or golfing.
Of course different parts of the country have different physical activity trends. For example, the Northeast and West Coast have higher exercise rates than Appalachia. Even so, the entire country could do better to increase the amount of time we spend engaging in physical activity.
It’s important to note that physical activity does not necessarily have to be “exercise.” Yard work, house work, walking around the mall and other lower intensity activities count as well.
Adding more physical activity
If you’re just starting to add more activity into your lifestyle, it’s important to start small. Setting big goals right away can end up leaving you feeling discouraged if you fall short. Additionally, when you try to make too many changes up front, it could be hard to sustain those healthy habits.
While eventually you may want to get up to 150 minutes of moderate-aerobic activity per week, it might be more manageable to start with a goal of 50 minutes per week. That’s only 10 minutes a day on the weekdays. That’s totally doable!