Exercise is Medicine: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

Compiled by Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

Physical inactivity contributes to many chronic disease and health complications. BE WISE AND EXERCISE FOR YOUR HEALTH.

Here’s the current physical activity guidelines for Americans. There are NO guidelines for children under 6. With the new parks through the Parklands,  the new Pedestrian Bridge downtown, and all the great parks in and around Kentuckiana there are plenty of places to do some scenic walking with your family. Having an exercise partner or a group to exercise helps to give you more incentive to be activity.

Age No Chronic Conditions Chronic Conditions
Children & Adolescents (6 – 17) 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day (moderate* – or vigorous**- intensity aerobic activity) 

Vigorous-intensity activity at least 3 days per week


Muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activity at least 3 days per week.

Develop a physical activity plan with your health care professional BUT avoid inactivity.
Adults (18 – 64) 150 minutes a week of a moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. 

Muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups performed on 2 or more days per week.

Develop a physical activity plan with your health care professional.  Be as physically active as possible BUT avoid inactivity.
Older Adults (65+) Follow adult guidelines or be as physically active as possible. Avoid inactivity. 

Exercise that maintain or improve balance if at risk of falling.

Develop activity plan with your health care professional.


*Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation.  Examples: brisk walking, ballroom dancing or general gardening.

** Vigorous-intensity physical activity causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate. Example: jogging, aerobic dancing or jumping rope.


Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Guidelines for Americans. Washington, DC: 2008.

Image from: www.momokd.com

Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition, www.DayByDayNutrition.com, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, www.KentuckianaHealthWellness.com. Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for www.LiveStrong.com as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 12 grandchildren.    



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