Health experts love guidelines, especially on fitness and exercise. Just a quick show of virtual hands - how many of you find most of these useless and near impossible to fit into your own busy lives? Wow - that's a lot of hands in the air!
Thanks to the hard work of the Department of Health and Human Services, that abysmal track record for exercise and fitness guidelines took a course change in the right direction yesterday with the release of HHS' Physical Activity Guidelines For Americans.
These new guidelines are not only worth reading, but following. They work for kids, adults and people with health conditions. They are practical and take into account not only the lives people currently lead but people's individual tastes in exercise and athletic activities.
The overall theme for these new guidelines is to "Be Active Your Way" and the HHS website has a number of resources to help you get on your way. The two biggest features are stepping it up slowly over time and being active for life. They also emphasize the importance of starting off on a reasonable pace and building slowly over time to your ultimate goal. Pacing is very important and can't be underestimated. It is tempting to go with your adrenaline flow and enter a new activity with gusto but you'll only end up hurt without proper training and conditioning.
Moreover, you're more likely to stick to long term exercise if you avoid burnout and injury. This is why I've been emphasizing "small changes, big results" for so long and working hard to find fitness and exercise experts to bring you realistic advice to help you and your kids stay healthy and fit in a way that works for your busy lives.
The actual guidelines take into account that different ages have different exercise needs.