Physical activity is any body movement that increases your heart
beat, causes you to breathe harder, and requires more energy than you use while
resting. Exercise is any structured physical activity you do specifically to
improve health or fitness.
Physical activity is key to achieving and maintaining a healthy
weight. Balancing the calories you take in through food and drinks with the
calories you burn during activity is important, even if you are currently at a
healthy weight. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of chronic diseases,
such as heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure,
What are the benefits of physical activity?
Nearly all people can benefit from physical activity. The benefits
far outweigh the risks.
children and adolescents, regular physical activity can lead to:
- Healthier body weight
- Improved heart, lung, and blood vessel function
- Stronger bones and muscles
- Improved mental well-being
adults, regular physical activity can lead to the above, as well as:
- Lower risk of dying early from any cause
- Lower risk of developing certain chronic diseases and colon and breast cancer
- Help support weight loss and prevent weight gain
- Prevent falls and reduce the risk of breaking a hip
- Make it easier to perform daily activities
- Improve mental function
- Improve sleep
these tips to add more physical activity to your day:
farther from the office, store, or school to add steps to your trip.
- Find a safe
route and bike to work, school, or errands.
- When available,
take the stairs instead of the elevator.
'walking school bus' in your neighborhood.
- If climbing multiple floors is difficult, go up a few
flights and then take the elevator the rest of the way.
to your errands if they are within a mile of each other.
Take your pet,
kids, family, or friends on a walk after dinner.
- Volunteer to walk your kids and/or neighborhood kids to school.
- Light physical activity will aid digestion and help
you fall asleep faster.
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
developed the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
guidelines follow the latest research emphasizing the benefits of regular
physical activity for people of all ages:
Adults - For health benefits, adults should be active
for at least:
150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity
activity a week, or 75 minutes (1 hour 15 mins) of vigorous activity per week.
For weight loss and additional health
benefits, adults should increase their physical activity to:
300 minutes (5 hours) or moderate-intensity
activity, or 150 minutes of vigorous activity, each week. Both aerobic
(endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) physical activity are
Older Adults -Follow the same
guidelines as other adults, but if this is difficult, older adults should be
encouraged to be as active as their abilities will allow. Older adults should
perform exercises that:
Maintain or improve balance to reduce the
risk of accidental falls. Muscle strengthening exercises are also
important to maintain balance and mobility as adults age.
Children/Youth - Children and adolescents
60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous
physical activity every day.
Children can also benefit from muscle/bone
strengthening activities, at least three days per week.
The lack of physical activity among youth, including
non-structured play-time and reduced recess and physical education is taking a
toll. Children are spending less than half as much time outside today as
they did 20 years ago. Whether watching television, playing on the
computer or with video games, children are spending less time being active
outdoors, and more time plugged in indoors. Children spend an average 7
hours per day plugged into electronic media; some may spend only 30 minutes per
This lack of outdoor exposure and activity contributes to
the increase in childhood overweight and obesity as well as depression, asthma,
attention deficit disorders and pharmaceutical use. For many of these physical,
mental and emotional problems, the cure may be just outside the door.
IPAN encourages every Idahoan to reduce their screen time and increase
their green time by spending more time playing, exploring and
reconnecting with nature. For more information on a movement in Idaho to
re-connect kids with nature, from backyards to mountaintops, including a
list of "101 Things To Do Outside" visit: www.beoutsideidaho.org