Overview of Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition

What are the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans?

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans were created by experts to guide Americans to a more active lifestyle. Since 2008, when the first Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans were developed, new evidence has emerged to support physical activity. These guidelines were developed to:

  • Encourage Americans of all ages to be physically active.
  • Help Americans be physically active for any amount of time, as even just five minutes of exercise has proven health benefits.
  • Explain the health benefits for people of all races, ethnicities, ages and health statuses, such as increased brain health, improved mood and sleep and reduced risk for chronic disease.

Physical Activity Guidelines Overview

Move more. While more adults are active now than in 2008, many Americans aren’t meeting physical activity guidelines. Even small amounts of exercise (such as five minutes!) show immediate health benefits.

Aim for 150 minutes. Engage in 150 minutes of moderate (e.g. brisk walk, playing tennis or raking the yard) to vigorous (e.g. running, carrying heavy groceries upstairs, shoveling snow, or participating in strenuous fitness class) exercise per week.

Don’t forget to strengthen! Participate in two days of muscle strengthening exercises per week, such as lifting weights, using elastic bands, doing push-ups or certain types of yoga. 

Go slow and steady. Are you struggling to incorporate physical activity into your weekly routine? Try gradually increasing your physical activity, first by replacing sitting with light-intensity physical activity, such as a slow walk, cooking, or light household chores. Slowly continue to move to more intense activities. Remember that even common tasks (household chores, shoveling snow, carrying groceries and yardwork) are physical activity!