According to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more Americans are fulfilling the federal physical activity recommendations than in previous years. Rates are improving, although they are still low generally, and there are significant differences between different regions.
On Thursday, researchers reported that only about a third of American people reach the minimum levels of aerobic and muscle-building activity recommended by health experts.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises that healthy individuals engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes per day and engage in muscle-strengthening exercises for at least two days per week.
The government physical activity standards stated that adults should aim for at least 75 minutes of strenuous aerobic exercise or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, plus two muscle-strengthening sessions. As of 2017, just around 24% of Americans fulfilled these recommendations. That’s an increase from the about 18% who met both criteria in 2008 and the 23% who did so in 2015.
CDC performed research that evaluated over 30,000 answers from its 2020 National Health Interview Survey; just 28% of adults in the United States follow such instructions. During the height of the COVID epidemic, activity may have been dampened, according to studies conducted at several universities throughout the country.
New CDC statistics found that roughly a quarter of city dwellers and a fifth of rural inhabitants got each week’s recommended activity. The paper states that this is partly because infrastructure such as pedestrian walkways and bike lanes is more common in metropolitan areas, allowing for the seamless integration of travel and exercise. Compared to a door-to-door car trip, public transit often involves more activity.
The CDC recommends that parks, walkways, and community centers all play a role in encouraging people to exercise more. However, both rural and urban regions should do a better job of utilizing and marketing these resources.
Sagar Shah, manager of the American Planning Association’s Planning and community health centers, suggests that the unique approach is to make physical activity such a normal part of life that it is done without thinking. Take Arlington, Virginia, partly due to its exceptional financing for and access to parks, trails, and green spaces, topped the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2018 American Fitness Index rankings among the 50 most extensive metro areas in the United States.
According to research by the county’s transportation and development department, residents of Arlington, thanks in large part to the county’s 49 miles of safe routes, take three times as many trips by foot, bike, or transit than residents of neighboring counties in the D.C. area.
The authors said that to encourage people to exercise healthily, there needs to be a lot of change at the local, state, and national levels. For example, physical spaces in cities and rural areas need to be cleaned up and made more inviting for activity, and there needs to be a more philanthropic investment in research.