A recent National Health Interview Survey has uncovered a concerning trend in Americans’ habits.
The survey revealed that only 24.2% of adults met the full recommendations of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
● 22.7% of American adults met the guidelines for aerobic activity, but not for muscle-strengthening activities.
● 6.8% met the guidelines for muscle-strengthening activity, but not for aerobic activity.
● 46.3% did not meet the guidelines for either type of activity.
These findings highlight the need for individuals to prioritize their physical well-being and take steps to improve their health.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
Fitness is not just a cosmetic goal.
Both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities are essential components of a healthy lifestyle. These exercises reduce your risk of chronic diseases, improve your mental health, and can even increase your life expectancy.
The official Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend getting 150 to 300 minutes per week (or more) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. This includes activities such as walking, swimming, casual biking, gardening, yoga, and dancing.
Or, you can also aim for 75 to 150 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity—running, swimming laps, jumping rope, and high-intensity cycling.
For muscle-strengthening activities, guidelines for adults recommend working out all major muscle groups on at least 2 days every week.
Limitations of the Survey
It’s important to note that the survey report has limitations.
The data was collected during the 2020 COVID pandemic, which affected physical behaviors and may have skewed the results.
Additionally, self-reported physical activity is prone to “recall bias”, and the assessment didn’t take physical activity from transportation or work occupations into account.
Still, the findings of the National Health Interview Survey underscore the importance of encouraging everyone to get more physical activity.
With nearly half of all Americans not meeting the guidelines for physical activity, it’s clear that more needs to be done to encourage individuals to prioritize healthy habits.
Tips for Being More Physically Active
Here are a few tips to help you incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine:
● Make it a social activity: Invite friends or family to join you for a walk, hike, or workout. Exercise is more enjoyable when you have someone to share it with.
● Turn household chores into a workout: Vacuuming, gardening, and other household chores can count as physical activity. Even better—turn on some music and dance while you do your chores.
● Make small changes to your routine: Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or bike to work, or go for a walk during your lunch break.
● Set achievable goals: Start small and set realistic goals that you can achieve. This will help you build momentum and make exercise a habit.
● Experiment with different activities: Try different types of physical activity until you find what you enjoy. This will help keep you motivated and engaged.
● Take advantage of technology: Use fitness tracking apps and wearable devices to monitor your progress and set goals.
● Take breaks from sitting: Stand up, stretch, and move for a few minutes every hour. This will also help keep your energy levels up and prevent burnout.
By incorporating simple changes into our daily routines and making physical activity a part of our lives, we can improve our overall health and well-being.
So, take the first step today and make a commitment to your physical fitness, and don’t be one of the 46.3% of Americans who don’t get enough of it.