The New Federal Exercise Guidelines Take Your Daily Hustle Into Account

Photo: Stocksy/Lauren Naefe
Earlier this year, a data report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that only 23 percent of the population is compliant with the federal prescription for exercise benchmarks. (Yikes, right?) But in an attempt that seems designed to make these fitness #goals more widely accessible (*especially* for the crazy-busy among us), the recently released second edition of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion's (ODPHP) Physical Activity Guidelines features a slightly tweaked exercise Rx.

"Exercise snacking" (as it's sometimes called) now totally counts toward your weekly workout gains.

While the government still recommends that adults rack up 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (plus two sessions a week focused on strength training) each week, there's no longer a mandate in place for doing so in increments of 10 minutes or greater. "The second edition removes this requirement to encourage Americans to move more frequently throughout the day as they work toward meeting the guidelines," the report notes. "Exercise snacking" (as it's sometimes called) totally counts, so go ahead and consider your lunchtime stretches a fraction of your weekly workout gains.

Apart from this super freeing development, the second edition presents a few other need-to-know updates. First, the ODPHP really (like, really) wants you to stop sitting so much. "This recommendation is based on new evidence that shows a strong relationship between increased sedentary behavior and increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and all-cause mortality," the guidelines read. And perhaps more significantly, the office now acknowledges a whole new body of research backing the long-term effects of exercise, including improved cognition, efficacy in preventing eight types of cancer (including bladder, breast, and lung), postpartum depression, and more.

The takeaway? No matter how hard you #hustle, the 2.0 version of the government's sweat prescription is pretty darn attainable. Collective New Year's resolution? Let's get that dismal 23 percent up to at least 50.

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