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New fitness guidelines hope to motivate Americans to exercise: ‘There is always day one’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A report released Monday shows less than one-third of Americans meet new physical fitness guidelines. That's according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The failure to meet the requirements leads to 10 percent of all premature death. That's why they're pushing an updated message of move more, sit less.

The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex M. Azar II, released this message:

"Today, about half of all American adults—117 million people—have one or more preventable chronic diseases. Seven of the ten most common chronic diseases are favorably influenced by regular physical activity. Yet nearly 80 percent of adults are not meeting the key guidelines."

Now, we get it. It's hard to find time to work out. For Jeremy York, who works to find time to work out each week, he said everybody's busy.

"You've got so much going on with work, but you've got to carve out time to get some health and fitness activities in," said York.

But, what if new updated requirements said your new goal should be 22 minutes.

"How can you be more active in 22 minutes of your day?" said Melanie Roberts with the National Institute for Fitness and Sport.

That's right, 22 minutes a day. For the first time in a decade, the federal government is updating recommendations for physical activity for adults and children. Roberts is on board with this idea.

"Maybe that builds into 25 minutes a day, and maybe that builds into a more solid routine. We want exercise to become a habit," said Roberts.

This 118 page report is a push to send home a message. It includes several new science-based guidelines for exercise and its benefits:

  • Additional health benefits related to brain health, additional cancer sites, and fall-related injuries;
  • Immediate and longer term benefits for how people feel, function, and sleep;
  • Further benefits among older adults and people with additional chronic conditions;
  • Risks of sedentary behavior and their relationship with physical activity;
  • Guidance for preschool children (ages 3 through 5 years);
  • Tested strategies that can be used to get the population more active.

Roberts added one of the most important parts of exercise is to understand the short and long term benefits.

"So that might be thinking more clearly, sleeping better, that immediate effect that exercise gives you and that turns into the long-term benefits of your decreased risk for diabetes, dementia, cancers."

Children younger than six years old were also included on the report for the first time.

"Over the last decade we've noticed they struggle more taking a lap around our track and their struggling with activity into their day," said Roberts.

The report is now calling on youth sports leaders, along with employers and the medical care industry to motivate people to get healthy.

York, when not at the gym, works in human resources. He said, "Find times to work out during the day, after work and even provide kinds of rewards or motivations."

According to the guidelines, the lack of physical activity is linked to $117 billion in annual health care costs. To check out the full Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, click here.

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