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Physical Activity Guidelines

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

First Comprehensive Federal Guidelines on Physical Activity Released

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, on October 7, 2008 to inform policymakers and health providers about the amounts, types, and intensity of physical activity needed to help Americans aged 6 and older improve their health and reduce their risk of chronic diseases. The Guidelines set achievable goals for everyone and can be customized according to a person’s interests, lifestyle, and goals.

Major research findings described in the report include:

  • Regular physical activity reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes.
  • Some physical activity is better than none.
  • For most health outcomes, additional benefits occur as the amount of physical activity increases (higher intensity, greater frequency, longer duration).
  • Most health benefits occur with at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking).
  • Both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) activities are beneficial.
  • Health benefits occur for all age groups and in every studied racial and ethnic group. They also occur for people with disabilities.
  • The benefits of physical activity far outweigh any possible risks.

To access the guidelines and to find links to other resources, visit  and