Updated 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines

Hey there! We’ve got some big news to share this week! The federal guidelines for physical activity recommendations have just been updated for the first time in 10 years! But guess what, not much as changed. The foundation of the recommendations still suggest a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week.

However, the new guidelines have a few new emphasizing points and key guidelines for specific populations, such as specifics to preschool-aged kids, older adults, and adults with disabilities. For example:

“Preschool-aged children (3 through 5 years) should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Adult caregivers of preschool-aged children should encourage active play that includes a variety of activity types.”

“Children and adolescents aged 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.”

For adults, “additional health benefits are gained by doing physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.”

“As part of their weekly physical activity, older adults should do multicomponent physical activity that includes balance training as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.”

“When adults with chronic conditions or disabilities are not able to meet the above key guidelines, they should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities and should avoid inactivity.”

In addition, there are recommendations for “Safe Physical Activity,” including:

“Increase physical activity gradually over time to meet key guidelines or health goals. Inactive people should “start low and go slow” by starting with lower-intensity activities and gradually increasing how often and how long activities are done.”

“Protect themselves by using appropriate gear and sports equipment, choosing safe environments, following rules and policies, and making sensible choices about when, where, and how to be active.”

“Be under the care of a health care practitioner if they have chronic conditions or symptoms. People with chronic conditions and symptoms can consult a health care professional or physical activity specialist about the types and amounts of activity appropriate for them.”

The guidelines also do a great job at highlighting the many known health benefits of physical activity. The list is pretty extensive, so be sure to check out the guidelines in its entirety. But it includes health benefits for which there is fairly new evidence for, such as “improved bone health and weight status for children aged 3 through 5 years,” “brain health benefits, including improved cognitive function, reduced anxiety and depression risk, and improved sleep and quality of life,” and “for people with various chronic medical conditions, reduced risk of all-cause and disease-specific mortality, improved function, and improved quality of life.”

The real take home message is that we need to move more, move often, and that all movement counts. Also remember that your physical activity minutes do not need to be completed consecutively, but can be added up over time!

Until next time,

Fuel Physio Team

Save Our Children. The Decline of Physical Education.

     Today I wanted to share briefly some information I became aware of two weeks ago. I had a very informative meeting with an elementary school physical education teacher. I was shocked by what I had learned, and I am sure you will be too. I will not mention the school, nor the parish or county because I assure you that this is a national issue.

     Now I ask you to think, how much time during a week do children receive physical education? I initially thought they got approximately 30 minutes a day. You would think that is a fair amount of time, close to what I received growing up. I then thought okay maybe only three times a week. Again, I was wrong. Children at this particular school receive 35 minutes of physical education ONCE a WEEK. I was outraged to say the least. And a majority of this time is spent moving the children from a classroom setting to the field and back.

     Furthermore, I learned that children's grades in physical education are now solely based on objective testing and not physical achievements. The Presidential Physical Fitness Award, a program many of us undoubtedly participated in while going through elementary school, is no longer being used. The computer tests now used prompts students to answer such questions as the correct sequence of a hop or skip; however, this does not test their coordination of the activity.

     There needs to be a drastic increase in the amount of time children are receiving physical education. Children need to be educated how to properly use and maintain their body in order to live a long and healthy life; increasing the time spent on other subjects does not help a child who already lives a sedentary lifestyle. Yes, all education is important, but physical activity has proven to enhance the function of mind and body. If you are a parent or guardian and not demanding more time for physical education, you are adding to the current decline in our children's physical activity.

     It is time to speak out and make an actual change!

- Patrick Berner, SPT