Are you getting enough physical activity?

According to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines, only 26 percent of men, 19 percent of women, and 20 percent of adolescents report sufficient activity to meet the current minimum guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.  The benefits of physical activity are well researched and have been found to take effect immediately. 

Regular physical activity benefits include:

  • Improved mood (decreased depression and anxiety)
  • Increased energy
  • Improved function for daily activities
  • Decreased risk of chronic diseases
  • Improved sleep
  • Decreased fall risk for older adults
  • Improved cognitive function for youth ages 6-13
  • Improved bone health and weight status for children ages 3-5
  • Reduced cancer risk

Minimum guidelines have been established for various age groups including young children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. 

Pre-school Aged Children (ages 3-5)

  • Be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development
  • 3 hours a day including varying levels of intensity
  • Encourage active play – throwing games, bicycle and tricycle riding, jumping, hopping, skipping, tumbling

School-Aged and Adolescent Children (ages 6-17)

  • 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate to vigorous-intensity activity
  • Most of the 60 minutes should be aerobic in nature at least 3 days/week
    • Biking, hiking, running, organized sports, martial arts, swimming, yard work
  • Include muscle and bone-strengthening exercises 3 days/week
    • These can include jumping, hopping and skipping, running and also more structured bodyweight and resistance exercises for major muscle groups
  • Encourage age-appropriate and enjoyable activities to promote lifelong habits


  • 150 mins to 300 mins of moderate-intensity activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week (aerobic activity spread out through the week at least 3 days a week)
  • Muscle-strengthening exercises 2 days a week hitting major muscle groups

Older Adults (65 and older)

  • Healthy older adults should follow the same guidelines as adults above
  • Strive to move more and sit less throughout the day
  • Incorporate balance activities
  • Determine your level of physical effort relative to your fitness level
  • Understand how chronic conditions may impact your activity and ability to perform the activity safely (seek guidance from a healthcare professional)

Below is a chart with some examples of both moderate and vigorous-intensity activities.

Moderate Intensity Activity

Vigorous Intensity Activity

Walking briskly (2.5-4.0 mph)

Jogging, running

Doubles tennis

Carrying heavy groceries upstairs

Raking the yard

Shoveling snow

Water aerobics

High-Intensity Interval training

Active forms of Yoga

Jumping rope

General yard work and home repair

Biking >10 mph

Ballroom or Line dancing

Swimming laps


If you need help determining your current fitness level or have chronic conditions that may be preventing you from being physically active, contact our office to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist.   We can help you develop a comprehensive program to keep you physically active and healthy for life.


Jen Buono, PT, DPT


References: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd Edition.

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