The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week (or 75 minutes of vigorous), plus strength exercise twice a week. However, recent studies have shown that, in the US, almost 80% do not meet these recommendations (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr112.pdf). One of the major reasons for this low level of participation is the seemingly high point of entry; maintaining that level of activity seems too daunting to achieve.
Recently, US federal guidelines have been revised, which can be simplified into one message: Move More, Sit Less.
Having an active lifestyle is not about going to the gym, running a marathon, or taking a long hike. Many daily activities add to your activity minutes, such as housekeeping, going shopping, garden work, and more. Even standing has an impact compared to sitting.
With this change of message, the US authorities want to try to make the possibility of adopting an active lifestyle a more plausible goal. Going from the couch to the gym is a near impossible task, but starting with simple things can have a significant impact in the long run.
Jonathan Jones, PhD
Product Development Manager
Digital Health Scientific Adviser