Resolution for the New Year: Move More, Sit Less

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Does your New Year’s resolution to exercise more seem like a daunting task? Getting plenty of exercise can help you live longer, but keep in mind that even brief bouts of huffing and puffing confer important health benefits. This guidance is from the most recent Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These science-based guidelines, which were published November 20, 2018 in JAMA, were written by a committee of health experts and update recommendations issued in 2008.

The new recommendations stress that any increase in physical activity fights disease, especially if you are currently sedentary. Here are the basics: Adults should engage in some form of moderately intense exercise, such as brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes a week, though more minutes means more benefit.

If you prefer vigorous exercise, such as jogging, 75 to 150 minutes is a good goal. Work your muscles with weights, elastic bands, or other forms of resistance training at least twice a week. Older men and women should also do balance exercises, such as walking backward or doing lunges (which you can look up online).

Earlier guidelines suggested that only bouts of physical activity of 10 minutes or more counted toward your weekly total, but the new recommendations state that every little bit helps. So park far from the grocery store, take the stairs when possible, and get off the sofa-simply sitting less and moving more can help lead you to better health.