JUL 31, 2018 6:47 AM PDT

Step it Up!

There are all kind of guidelines on exercise and fitness. While opinions might differ on intensity and time spent, there is a standard recommended amount of time.

 The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines are as follows: "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. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week."

Of course, we all do that, right? Day in and day out, we're all out there walking, running, biking, and hitting up the gym. I mean, who doesn't read the CDC guidelines and feel motivated to hop up off the couch and get into it? As it happens, about 77% of U.S. adults do not comply with the recommended daily amount of exercise. Why? Oh, who knows? For whatever reason, recent data shows that only 23% of Americans get the amount of exercise health experts think they should get. With rising rates of obesity and the health complications that come along with being overweight and underactive, it would seem like an obvious fix to listen to the experts and do what is advised. 150 minutes a week works out to 30 mins a day, five days a week (go ahead, take the weekend off, it's cool.) So why is it so hard to do?

Leisure time physical activity (LTPA) is what the guidelines are aiming to improve. Many jobs are sedentary and don't allow for periods of aerobic exercise or strength training. So the guidelines are meant to gauge activity during leisure time. While your gym workout might not seem leisurely, if you don't work at the gym as an employee, it's leisure time, and most adults have to step it up a few notches, according to the latest research.

So how did the numbers break out? Looking at gender first, the survey showed that among men, the percentage who met the guidelines through participation in LTPA varied from 17.7% in South Dakota to 40.3% in the District of Columbia, with the national average being 27.2% for men. For women, the numbers showed a greater span of variety with Mississippi reporting 9.7% of women hitting the mark. The ladies in Colorado took the top spot with 31.5% of women in Colorado getting their sweat equity in on the regular. The national average for women shook out to 18.7%.

Where did the numbers come from? The National Health Interview Survey, under the auspices of the CDC, looked at data between 2010 and 2015. The entire survey can be found here (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/index.htm) but the fact that such a small percentage of adults are getting the bare minimum of exercise should be concerning. For more information, check out the video below. Once you've seen it, get out there and exercise!

Sources: CDC NHIS Men’s Health

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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