New exercise guidelines suggest older adults try a variety of activities

In the journals


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For the first time in 10 years, the U.S. government has updated its guidelines for regular physical activity. The guidelines, published in the Nov. 20, 2018, issue of JAMA, still suggest adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes each week of moderate-intensity physical activity, and the more you can do, the better. Examples of moderate-intensity activities include brisk walking, swimming and cycling.

What is new are specific suggestions for certain age groups. For adults ages 65 and older, the report recommends their allotted minutes include multicomponent activities that offer balance training, aerobic exercise, and muscle strengthening, all of which can help older adults reduce their risk of falls. They noted that many recreational activities like dancing, yoga, tai chi, gardening, or sports often incorporate the multiple types of activity you need.

Another change is how long you should exercise per workout. Previously, sessions had to last at least 10 minutes to count toward your weekly quota. But now researchers suggest that any duration is fine, and the focus should be on consistency. For instance, even small bouts of activity like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, all can contribute to your weekly activity.

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