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New Physical Activity Guidelines Come With New Advice About Exercising

November 15, 2018, 9:05 PM UTC

It doesn’t matter how long you exercise. What’s important is that you do—even if it’s just for five minutes at a time.

That’s the recommendation in the latest physical activity guidelines, recently updated for the first time in 10 years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In general, the guidelines are similar to what we’ve heard in the past: Move more and sit less.

Just as in 2008, experts still suggest adults get 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week and 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise. What’s changed is how that exercise should be done.

Originally experts recommended that physical activity is done in increments of at least 10 minutes at a time. Now they say that it doesn’t matter how long you’re up and moving, just that you are.

So running for five minutes is helpful.

According to a CDC report earlier this year, nearly 80% of U.S. adults and adolescents are not active enough. The new guidelines note that being physically active is one of the greatest things people can do to improve their health and that an estimated $117 billion in annual health care costs and about 10% of premature mortality are associated with inadequate physical activity.

The new guidelines were published in the Journal of the American Media Association (JAMA).