New Physical Activity Guidelines Highlight the Importance of Moving
By David Doolittle


Are you sitting down? 

Well, you might not want to after reading the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which was published recently by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Basically, you know what the guidelines say: Being physically active is the most important step people can take to improve their health. This is true for any amount of physical activity, regardless of intensity, the guidelines say.

The new edition “provides science-based guidance to help people ages 3 years and older improve their health through participation in regular physical activity,” according to the executive summary. “It reflects the extensive amount of new knowledge gained since the publication of the first Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, released in 2008.”

The new guidelines include discussions on how physical activity improves brain health and cancer prevention, and reduces fall-related injuries. 

The guidelines also discuss the amounts and types of physical activity recommended for different age groups and populations:


  • Preschool-aged children (ages 3 through 5 years) should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development.
  • Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily;
  • Adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, and muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week.
  • Older adults should do physical activity that includes balance training, as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
  • Pregnant and postpartum women should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
  • Adults with chronic health conditions and disabilities, who are able, should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, and muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week.


The guidelines also include recommendations for safe physical activity, including increasing activity gradually and consulting a health care professional.

If you’re looking for a way to get your patients (and yourself) to be more active, become one of the 60,000 Texans who have participated in Walk With a Doc since 2012.  

The program encourages physicians to help their communities take steps to better health through regularly scheduled walking events. Walks have taken place in cities and towns across Texas, including at parks, school campuses, health facilities, shopping malls, and the Texas Capitol.

To host a walk, or for more information, contact Debra Heater in TMA’s division of communications at 512-370-1390 or debra.heater[at]texmed[dot]org.

Last Updated On

November 19, 2018

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David Doolittle


(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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