As for adults, experts still recommend anywhere between 150 and 300 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity, like power walking or dancing, each week in addition to two days of strength training. As a whole, recommendations for seniors also stayed the same.
The new guidelines expanded on recommendations for preschoolers aged 3 through 5, who Giroir and colleagues said should be active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. They recommend at least three hours of activity a day, ideally in a variety of settings.
A breadth of new evidence
According to Giroir, new data allowed the guideline committee to take into account a series of unique health considerations. We're now more aware of the extensive health benefits that come with physical activity, as well as the risks associated with being sedentary.
Sedentary behavior, in particular, was a major talking point for this year's guidelines. The first key recommendation for adults is to "move more and sit less"—a tip based in evidence that increased sedentary behavior leads to more heart disease, high blood pressure and all-cause death. Giroir also underlined the fact that evidence now suggests exercise has immediate health benefits, including reducing anxiety and blood pressure, improving sleep quality and increasing insulin sensitivity.
The new guidelines also account for unique patient populations, like pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions or disabilities. Those groups are advised to aim for 150 minutes of physical activity a week and should consult with their specialists before beginning any kind of training program.