The New Physical Activity Guidelines

Exciting news! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a second edition of their Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. This is super important as the last edition was released over 10 years ago. The Guidelines provide direction on the types and amount of activity we all should do to get the most health benefit.

The Guidelines’ main message of moving more has not changed. It is still recommended that adults complete at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity as well as at least 2 days of muscle strengthening working all your major muscle groups each and every week. You can read more about the general recommendations in our Don’t Forget To Strength Train entry. This blog post will highlight 3 important additions to the updated Guidelines.

First, the new edition details more information about the benefits of exercise in relation to its immediate effects as well as in preventing and managing chronic conditions. Adults who are physically active are healthier, feel better, and are less likely to develop certain chronic diseases and several types of cancer than are adults who are inactive. The Guidelines also include more evidence-based information about benefits for brain health and fall prevention too. The benefits of exercise can be seen immediately after your activity from lowered blood pressure to improved sleep and mood. So, you’ll feel the benefits of the activity you do today and in the future.

Another key takeaway is that we need to move more and sit less throughout the day. We now know that we typically sit around 7.7 hours a day! There is a strong relationship between our sedentary behavior and our risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. Heart disease is the #1 killer in the U.S. and sitting around everyday is contributing to this! With the new Guidelines, now we know why some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and move more gain substantial health benefits.

The biggest change to the Guidelines (drum roll please!) is the elimination of moving for at least 10 minutes at a time to work towards your 150-300 minute weekly quota. Now any activity, even a few minutes, is beneficial. If there’s one message to take with you from this entry is: Any movement is good movement. We just need to do something, no matter how small. This means your trips to the water fountain, sprint to catch the train, and using the stairs instead of the elevator all add up!

We only covered what we feel are the top 3 important takeaways; however, there are more updates included in the Guidelines from child, teen, and older adult recommendations to strategies to get moving. To learn more, check out our resources below where you’ll find the full edition and executive summary. If you’re really tight on time, check out the 10 things takeaway report.

If being more active is one of your goals, let Take Care Coaching help hold you accountable! Check us out with a free 20 minute coaching session by emailing We look forward to working with you!


HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2018):



Megan Aronson