Physical activity is an important part of staying healthy naturally, yet it’s one that so many people overlook. Whether it’s giving in to the lure of the television set or sitting all day at an 8-to-5 desk job, most of us aren’t getting the recommended two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week that the United States government recommends—a benchmark that, if not met, could actually shorten our life spans. Only 31 percent of Americans get the recommended two and a half hours of physical activity a week, while 40 percent of us don’t get any regular physical activity.
How often do you exercise? Only 31 percent of Americans get the two and a half hours of physical activity recommended by the government. Photo By Mike Baird/Courtesy Flickr
Our nation’s inactivity has led to a rise of health-related problems, most notably obesity. To combat these problems, a group of health experts developed a set of policies, programs and initiatives aimed at increasing physical activity across all segments of American society called the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan. The Plan, which was revealed this past Monday, includes a variety of ideas to get people up and moving. It calls for building bike paths and bike lanes on major roads, which would encourage people to walk or bike to work; increasing funding for parks, sports programs and fitness facilities; establishing activity programs for early childhood education; and encouraging doctors to assess patients’ physical activity levels and discuss ways they can meet the activity guidelines. The Plan’s committee includes representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and various universities across the nation.
Working at a desk all day long makes it difficult to get in the recommended two and a half hours of physical fitness each week, but I’ve noticed small ways in which my coworkers stay active during the day. Natural Home's managing editor, Jessica Kellner, devotedly goes to the gym almost every day on her lunch break, and many of the editors from our sister publication Mother Earth News take walking breaks almost everyday.
How much physical activity do you get each week? What kind of activities do you participate in, and what motivates you to do it?