Healthy Maine Partnerships - The people dedicated to helping us live longer and healthier

Maine Physical Activity & Nutrition Program

Physical Activity Guidelines

Being physically active is one of the most important steps that Americans of all ages can take to improve their health.

Regular physical activity reduces the risk in adults of early death; coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and depression. It can improve thinking ability in older adults and the ability to engage in activities needed for daily living.

The recommended amount of physical activity in children and adolescents improves cardio respiratory and muscular fitness as well as bone health, and contributes to favorable body composition.

Below are the recommended guidelines:

Children and Adolescents

  • Children and adolescents age 6-17 should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity every day.
    • Aerobic: Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate*– or vigorous*–intensity aerobic physical activity, and should include vigorous–intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week.
    • Muscle–strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle–strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
    • Bone–strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone–strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
  • It is important to encourage young people to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.

Adults

  • All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
  • For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate–intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous–intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent 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
    • Adults should also do muscle–strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.
    • For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 5 hours a week of moderate intensity, or 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.

Looking for guidelines for:


The complete Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans can be found at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/

*Not sure what is moderate or vigorous activity? Find your activity on this list or visit http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/measuring/index.html


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