More than 75 Percent of Americans not Exercising Enough

David Donald

What New Year’s resolutions did you make in 2018?  Did you commit to binge-watching fewer series on Netflix, spending more time outdoors, or finally taking advantage of a gym membership you’ve paid for?

Now that half of the year is gone how did you do?

If you didn’t accomplish all of your resolutions related to exercise don’t feel too bad.

More than 75 percent of adults in the U.S. don’t exercise enough each week, according to new data released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

About a quarter of adults, however, did make exercising a priority in their lives by meeting federal guidelines for physical activity.

The 2008 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services physical activity guidelines recommend adults 18 to 64 years of age get at least 150 minutes (or 2 hours and 30 minutes) of “moderate-intensity” or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of “vigorous-intensity” aerobic exercise every week.

Healthy People 2020 considers adequate physical activity a leading health indicator with 20.1 percent of adults meeting physical activity guidelines by the end of the decade. The country on average has exceeded the target with 22.9 percent engaging in physical activities on a regular basis through 2015.

How well people met the guidelines in each state differs.

Adults living in Colorado exercised the most at 32.5 percent while adults in Mississippi exercised the least at 13.5 percent.

Thirteen states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia) had significantly lower average than the national average, while fourteen states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) and the District of Columbia had a significantly higher percentage than the national average.

Percentage of adults in each state meeting the physical activity guidelines.

The Benefits of Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can lower the risk for:

  • coronary heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • type 2 diabetes
  • metabolic syndrome
  • breast and colon cancer
  • depression
  • disability and
  • death

Regular exercise can:

  • make you feel happier
  • help you with weight loss
  • strengthen muscles and bones
  • increase your energy levels
  • improve skin health
  • improve brain health and memory

How to Get Regular Exercise

The trouble many people have when it comes to exercise is where to start. There are many things you can do to get motivated:

  • Find a friend to exercise with
  • Walk instead of drive (and bring your camera)
  • Join a nearby gym
  • Take a class like yoga or spinning
  • Join a fitness group
  • Take a hike in the wilderness
  • Listen to fitness podcasts or videos
  • See a physical therapist to help with any physical limitations

The CDC divides its physical activity guidelines into two lists: one for adults and another for adolescents.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults

  • Avoid inactivity. A little bit of activity is better than nothing. No matter how much physical activity someone pursues there are health benefits to gain.
  • For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalence combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
  • Increase aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate activity for extensive health benefits.
  • Engage in moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activities that involved all major muscle groups 2 or more days a week to provide additional health benefits.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Adolescents

Children should get enough exercise, too. Developing an active lifestyle early in life can foster a life-long habit of exercising and improve health outcomes in the long term.

  • Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily.
  • Aerobic: At least 3 days out of the week should include moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.
  • Muscle-Strengthing: At least 3 days out of the week should include muscle-strengthening physical activity.
  • Bone-Strengthening: At least 3 days out of the week should include bone-strengthening physical activity.
  • Keep it fun and offer variety. It’s important that young people are participating in age-appropriate activities they enjoy.

If you find it difficult to exercise regularly because of neck and back pain contact the BioSpine Institute. Our team will determine if our minimally invasive outpatient procedures can help you get your life back.

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