Article Series

The Majority of Americans Don’t Get Enough Exercise

Submitted by Eric Durak, MS - Wellness @ Home Workshops and The Cancer Wellness Company. For more information about Eric Durak visit:

According to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority—79 percent—of American adults aged 18 and over are not meeting federal recommendations for physical activity for either aerobic- and muscle-strengthening exercise. Federal recommendations include getting:

  • At least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
  • Muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups, twice or more per week

Of the 450,000 respondents participating in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual CDC phone survey of adults, 52 percent said they meet the aerobic activity guideline, and only 29 percent reported meeting the muscle-strengthening activity recommendation. Disturbingly, as reported in the featured article by USA Today, other studies suggest Americans are even more sedentary than what these statistics show:

“Scientists with the National Cancer Institute, using actual motion sensors, found that fewer than five percent of adults in the USA get at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity physical activity in bouts of at least 10 minutes.”

The evidence is overwhelming when it comes to proving that staying active will benefit your health and longevity. As for what type of exercise to choose, the options are limited only by your own imagination and fitness level. Here are a few suggestions from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which would help you meet the minimum exercise recommendations listed above:

  • Take a brisk walk for 30 minutes on five days (moderate intensity); exercise with resistance bands two days (muscle strengthening).
  • Take a brisk walk for 30 minutes two days (moderate); go dancing for an hour one evening (moderate); mow the law for 30 minutes (moderate); do heavy gardening two days (muscle strengthening).
  • Do 30 minutes of an aerobic dance class (vigorous); do 30 minutes of running one day (vigorous); take a brisk walk for 30 minutes one day (moderate); do calisthenics (sit-ups, push-ups) on three days.
  • Bike to and from work for 30 minutes on three days (moderate); play softball for 60 minutes one day (moderate); use weight machines two days.

Play doubles tennis for 45 minutes two days (moderate); lift weights one day; hike vigorously for 30 minutes and go rock climbing one day (muscle strengthening).

About the Author

Eric Durak is the President of Medical Health and Fitness in Santa Barbara, CA. He is the director of the Wellness @ Home program for home care professionals, and has worked his entire career in clinical exercise and The Cancer Wellness Company. Eric has produced award winning programs for wellness and fitness in diabetes, cancer, bariatrics, arthritis, and renal disease.

- Visit Erik Durak’s websites:

© 2013, All Rights Reserved by Eric Durak, Medical Health & Fitness

Posted June 2013 on