The CDC and Prevention teamed up and did a study that found that most American adults don’t get enough exercise. In fact, research found that as many as 79 percent of adults in the US do not get enough aerobic and strength exercise combined, and as few as 29 percent actually manage to meet the strength training guidelines.
When it comes to exercise, the recommended guidelines for adults are pretty straight forward: If moderately intense exercise is being done, such as brisk walking, adults should get a minimum of 2.5 hours a week. That comes out to about a half hour a day, five days a week.
If more intense exercise is being done, such as jogging, the recommendations go down to about a half hour three days a week. Of course, these guidelines recommend minimum amounts as it can be difficult for the average person to get too much exercise.
It is also recommended that adults get enough strength exercise. In this case, a good minimum is two times weekly, focusing on all major muscle groups in the body. Beginners may want to get started by doing push-ups, sit ups and do some exercises that incorporate weights and resistance bands.
Good for overall health
There are many different benefits of getting regular exercise, so it’s a wonder to many why more people wouldn’t want to get more of it. Regular exercise can help to reduce the risk of depression, stroke or heart disease, type 2 diabetes and has even been shown to prevent some kinds of cancer.
Exercise is also helpful when it comes to easing other conditions, as well. Pain and stiffness from arthritis and fibromyalgia can benefit from regular exercise.
Not only can exercise help to reduce the chances of developing health issues such as heart problems, but it can also help to balance the blood pressure and studies have found that regular exercise can help to reduce the chances of developing dementia in the elderly.
Other studies have shown that those that get the recommended amounts of exercise are less likely to suffer from bone loss and hip fractures, and this can mean greater independence later in life.
What the numbers say
The National Cancer Institute did a study using motion sensors to monitor the activity levels of participants and discovered that fewer than five percent of American adults actually do get the minimum 30 minutes of exercise that is recommended. This number even included the participants who might split activity into 10 minute increments.
For the study that Prevention and the CDC collaborated on, the data came from self-reporting from an estimated 450,000 participants. The survey was part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. In the study, approximately 52 percent of adults that were asked reported that they meet the guidelines for aerobic activity, but only 21 percent of American adults reported that they meet the guidelines for both cardiovascular and strength. A depressingly low 29 percent of the survey participants reported that they regularly meet the guidelines for strength alone.
It’s essential to remember that demographics change depending on the state where the participants live and ethnic and age groups will have an effect on the results, as well. The study did prove that across the country women, Hispanics, and obese or older adults are less likely to meet the recommended guidelines than others that were surveyed.