Medical Misconception: Length of Physical Activity

Each month, we set the facts straight on a health and wellness myth.

This month’s myth: Physical activity is only beneficial in long sessions

With hectic schedules as the norm nowadays, many individuals have trouble carving out a set time to exercise each week. But that doesn’t mean they can’t find time in their day to incorporate bits of meaningful activity that can benefit their overall health.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (second edition) recommends that adults move more and sit less whenever possible for their health, as research has shown sedentary behavior increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and more.

The physical activity guidelines still recommend that adults participate in at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, such as brisk walking or household chores, and muscle-strengthening activity, such as push-ups or weight lifting, twice a week.
But the guidelines now recognize that any amount of physical activity has some health benefits and that these small amounts of activity add up.

The U.S. Department of Health & Social Services suggests some easy ways to incorporate more physical activity:

• Take the stairs instead of the elevator
• Clean the house
• Plant and care for a garden and/or do yard work
• Walk up and down a sports field as you watch your children play/practice
• Take a brisk walk during your work break
• Walk the dog
• Park farther away from your destination

Joining a walking group is another way to increase your physical activity. The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County’s Walk Carroll program hosts free group walking events open to the community. All ages and physical activity levels are welcome to participate. 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out the Move Your Way website from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for tips and information on how to build physical activity into your day whenever you can.

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