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The Government’s New Exercise Guidelines — It Is More Important than You May Think

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How active you are may be the most important indicator of your good health. In a world where health is defined by your cholesterol reading, your blood sugar level, your blood pressure, or your adherence to early detection screening, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that activity affects your function in innumerable ways. One fourth of all deaths related to chronic disease is linked to a sedentary lifestyle.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidelines this month setting the minimum exercise recommendations for good health. For most adults it translates to 2½ hours of exercise each week. Children and teens need even more activity—according to these guidelines, brisk activity for at least an hour a day is necessary for their good health.
Exercise researchers at Ohio State University cite research that exercise is the single biggest factor in determining who will remain free from disability after age 65. Exercise reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cognitive dysfunction, joint problems, bone fractures, high blood pressure, and depression. No other lifestyle factor has such far-reaching benefits.
A pedometer that simply measures the number of steps you take each day is great way to set goals and monitor your progress. The average American takes 10,000 steps each day. The average Amish American takes 18,000. More than sixty percent of Americans, and more than two-thirds of teens, do not get enough physical activity.
The alarming incidence of breast cancer may be reduced by an increase in daily activity, according to the New York Times. In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests that activity should not only be a part of cancer prevention, but of treatment as well.

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