Every day when I drive past the local park I'm impressed by the sheer volume of people out doing things. Running, biking, walking, skating. With dogs, with babies, with headphones. Seeing all that healthy activity does two things to me: 1) it makes me feel like I need to ditch the car and join them in some exercise, and 2) makes me think a vast majority of people take exercise seriously and get out there and get it done.
The first thought is true. The second thought, however, is not. I'm biased by seeing all those active people every day, but the sad truth is that most Americans don't come close to getting the recommended amount of exercise. If you told me that and then had me guess, I'd say maybe a little more than half of people get enough exercise. I'd be wrong. Really, really wrong. The real number? 20%. That's it. Not even a quarter of our population.
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The CDC recently looked at data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a survey conducted by state health departments, which revealed this shocking statistic. To be fair, 50% of people do engage in the recommended amount of cardiovascular activity. Only 20% of people did both aerobic and strength training activities, which is what's recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines state that adults should getting 2 1/2 hours of moderate aerobic activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of intense aerobic activity each week. On top of that, strength training that involves all major muscle groups should be done at least twice a week.
That's not asking too much, so what can we do to bump this number up the next time the survey comes around? I'd love to hear your best motivation tips!
-By Heather Neal
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