People love to rag on the government, it’s “rules” and “laws” (psh, stop signs are only suggestions, right?)…myself included, however, when it comes to health and fitness, they actually have gotten a few things sorta right…and many people still fail at them.
Let’s start with exercise.
The CDC’s current recommendations:
Key Guidelines for Adults
- All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
- For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalence combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.
- For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalence combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.
- Adults also should do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate- or high-intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.
So the bare bones minimum, the ABSOLUTE LEAST AMOUNT YOU SHOULD BE DOING – 150 minutes of moderate intensity per week. This could be 3, 50 minute sessions of circuit training, cardio, weight training (if done with less rest, this can be very aerobic)
Now this doesn’t include going for a casual stroll. This specifically setting out to do some sort of moderate intensity (think of a 6-7 on a scale to 10) exercise.
Here’s the big kicker – this is the M.I.N.I.M.U.M – and many don’t even meet it, yet many expect to get these movie star bodies, and athlete like figures from infomercials promising 4 minutes a day is all you need…
Before you jump at me pointing your finger and yelling “BUT THE DIET IS MORE IMPORTANT!” … yes, yes it can be.
Let’s be real here though. For the body the most people want, exercise, ESPECIALLY the strength stuff, is required.
Also, you can lose weight from diet alone, but that little extra caloric deficit from exercise helps, and it helps with so much more BESIDES weight loss!
Yes – something is always better than nothing, but you have to build on that. 1 day per week is a fantastic start point if you currently exercise 0 times per week, but then you have to move up from there until you get right around that 300 minutes per week mark for optimal health and results.
Work your way up to 5 hours of planned exercise per week, with three days being strength focussed (2.5-3.5 total hours) and the rest some mixed conditioning/cardio (1.5-2.5 hours) and you will be looking GREAT, SO SO GREAT, JUST THE GREATEST…
Now lets see the nutrition side…
Many are quick to shout out – “big business conspiracies” and “the government lies to us” or “follow the money!”
Yes, there definitely is some of that going on always, but lets see what we can agree with:
Wow, seems pretty harsh and corrupt doesn’t it? Feel’s like North Korea has already won…
Lets look at this propaganda a little closer…
Healthy eating includes fruits, vegetables, protein, some dairy, grains and oils!?!?! Blasphemy!
Do some people need less grains? Sure! Can some people not handle dairy? You bet.
Overall though, these recommendations are great! How many people can honestly say that they have SOME fruit and vegetables everyday? Only 1 in 10.
So there are 9 people for every 10 who can’t even get the basics of the basics right.
Yet, everyone wants to know the latest supplement or fad diet that will solve all their problems instead of looking at the simple solution that sits right in front of them.
Now what should we do?
Take a good look at these recommendations. They are actually very solid. Now be honest with yourself.
How much do you exercise per week? Good quality, moderate to vigorous, planned out exercise.
How well do you meet even the most basic of the diet recommendations? Once per week?
Be honest with yourself, and set up a plan to try and meet these goals. You will be surprised on how well the simple things can work.
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Stay healthy my friends,