More Effort Needed to Get Americans to Exercise

More public health efforts are needed to get Americans off the couch and onto the treadmill or the exercise bike. As many as 60% of American adults remain inactive, despite the long list of well known health benefits derived from regular exercise. Studies have shown that some types of interventions can increase the frequency of activity by up to 25%, but they have not been widely implemented. One of the best ways to get more Americans to exercise is to erase the 'no pain - no gain' mentality from their minds.  Just about 14% of U.S. adults engage in 20 minutes of vigorous exercise, three times a week. But recently, the US Surgeon General reported that 30 minutes of moderate physical activity accumulated throughout the day can also help prevent heart disease and some cancers.

American Journal of Health Promotion November/December 1999;14:118-123.

COMMENT: Now this article tells how many of us are actually exercising. It appears more than half of us are couch potatoes. Next week marks the beginning of a new year and the opportunity to recommit ourselves to an effective exercise regimen. If you are overweight, or have high blood pressure or type two diabetes, it would be wise to gradually increase exercise to the one hour per day level.

This does not have to be continuous, but it is best if each exercise segment where at least twenty minutes. Three twenty minute periods would work, as would two thirties or a variety of other permutations.

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