We know that children need physical activity to develop properly, grow up strong, and stay healthy. That’s why parents diligently encourage children to get up off the couch and play outside. This is especially important as recess and play time are whittled down at schools, and our lifestyles have become increasingly sedentary. But it’s not just children that need to stay active. Adults need exercise, too!
Why is physical activity important for adults?
The health benefits of regular physical activity are well documented, and they are important through all stages of life. Regular physical activity, of course, helps with growth and development in children, but it’s important for adults as well.
- Staying active can help manage, prevent, or delay disease, and can lower the risk of premature death.
- Regular physical activity helps delay loss in muscle mass and bone density.
- It can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and more.
- Regular exercise and physical activity can also help manage a healthy weight.
- It helps improve balance and can help prevent injury.
- Being active also helps improve mental health and mood.
Adults don’t get enough physical activity.
According to the CDC, more than 31 million adults over the age of 50 are inactive. Not only are these adults missing out on the health benefits of an active lifestyle, but the less exercise and physical activity a person gets, the more difficult it becomes for them to be active.
Physical activity is important for everyone, regardless of age.
How much physical activity do adults need?
The Physical Activity Guidelines are set at 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. This averages out to just 30 minutes a day on weekdays, or just over 20 minutes a day every day of the week.
While 150 minutes might sound daunting, it’s easier to achieve than you might think. That’s just 2 and a half hours a week, and as long as you’re doing your physical activity at least 10 minutes at a time, you’re good. Anyone can find 10 minutes, 3 times a day, to get their heart level up!
Of course, 150 minutes a week, is the absolute minimum. The more exercise you get, the greater the health benefits. People who are active 7 hours a week, or 1 hour each day, have a 40 percent lower risk of dying prematurely than people who exercise just 30 minutes a week.
How can adults be more active?
It’s easy to make excuses. A long day at work, family obligations, or just being too tired can get in the way of exercise and physical activity. But regular physical activity is necessary for maintaining good health, and it’s worth prioritizing.
Here are some things that you can do to be more active.
- Make exercise and physical activity a high priority. If it’s a high enough priority, you will find the time to be active.
- Schedule time for physical activity. If you feel as though your schedule is too full, schedule in exercise and physical activity. Wake up 30 minutes earlier and exercise before work, or designate 30 minutes in the evening for physical activity.
- Stay active with your family. Go for a family walk, hike, or bike ride. Play outdoor games or sports that everyone can enjoy together.
If you’ve neglected physical activity for long enough, it can be difficult to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines. If you find it difficult to meet the 150 minutes a week, get as much activity as your health allows and meet with your primary care physician.