It is well known that exercise is healthy. But how much do people exercise? What exercise guidelines are there? And what if you have difficulty moving due to health problems? Everyone is different and therefore may need to move differently. Before we look at ‘customized’ exercise, we first look at how much American and British people exercise and what the general guidelines are in the USA.
Health Surveys 2018/2019
This survey by the National Health Interview Survey (CDC) from 2018 shows that 53.3% of the American adults aged 18 and over met de Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity.
23.2% of the American adults aged 18 and over met de Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity. In England were 63.3% of the people aged 16 and over ‘physically active’ from November 2018 to November 2019. They did 150 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity a week.
The exercise guidelines in different countries in the world, are mostly based on the guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO). For this reason the guidelines are similar in every country. Sometimes children are divided into different age categories. Not every country makes this distinction. What is striking is that the English speaking countries also found evidence that exercise reduces the risk of various cancers and osteoporosis. This is not mentioned in the Dutch guidelines. See the Dutch blog about customized exercise for more information about the Dutch guidelines. Below, the exercise guidelines of the United States (as an example) are further explained.
Exercise guidelines in the United States of America
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, drew up with Co-Executive Secretaries and other Federal staff new exercise guidelines in 2018. According to these guidelines, all target groups should avoid a lot of sitting. Adults should exercise at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) for substantial health benefits. 150 minutes to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Examples of moderate-intensity are walking and cycling, preferably spread over several days. Exercises beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, provides additional health benefits.
For children from 6 to 17 years old, at least one hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day. A distinction is made here between moderately intensive (aerobic) exercise and muscle and bone-strengthening activities, which are recommended for both target groups. For adults at least 2 times a week, for children from 6 till 17 years old at least 3 times a week. For the elderly, specific attention is also paid to balance exercises.
Benefits of exercise
According to the CDC, all this reduces the risk of chronic diseases, various cancers and health complaints such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, overweight/obesity, depressive symptoms and bone fractures in the elderly (the risk of falling).
View the guidelines for more information about exercise for children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with disabilities. For the UK here and for Canada here.
Do you have a disability, health problems, a (chronic) illness or for example a burnout? Then it may just be that these general guidelines are unsuitable for you due to pain, fatigue or reduced mobility. People with burnout or fatigue often have high cortisol levels, which, for example, makes running even more exhausting. Always listen to your body and, if desired, seek appropriate help with (building up) movement, such as a physiotherapist or a specialized personal trainer. Everyone is different and therefore has different limits.
Going beyond your fhysical limits
Going beyond the physical limits can make some people sicker due to exercise intolerance. Others just need to push the limits a bit, to build muscle strength and endurance. Therefore always pay attention to your own feeling and body. Keep maintain self-direction of your life!
Examples of sports or exercise that may be suitable for health problems:
- Restorative or yin yoga
These calm yoga types are based on the self-healing ability of the body through deep relaxation. Yin yoga is aimed at creating space in the connective tissues (fascia) and joints during relaxing postures.
Swimming has the least stress on the joints and is good for almost all muscles in the body.
From 5 minutes to hours, this can be built up yourself and can be done at any time of the day. Indoors, in the garden, or in a forest, park or residential area. An additional advantage is that on a sunny day you also produce vitamin D outdoors.
Whether by means of an exercise bike or a regular bicycle, cycling is, just like walking, a method to start exercising in an accessible way (in nature). In addition, the joints are little loaded during cycling and the muscles are strengthened.
If you are bedridden or in a wheelchair, moving can be more difficult. Occasionally moving the ankles, raising an arm may then be a good exercise. If it is possible to get out of the wheelchair for a while by standing or walking a few steps, do this. That way you may be able to build up more strength. Ask a doctor or physiotherapist about this.
- Daily activities
You can perform exercises while brushing your teeth. That way, exercise becomes a habit. You can practice balance by standing on one leg. Or train your calf muscles by standing on your toes alternately. Climbing stairs is an example of a more intensive daily activity at home.
How do you keep moving?
Hopefully I was able to provide you with new information. How do you keep moving? Leave it in a comment or send a message!
Wondering which exercise might be right for you? Request a conversation!