As a nation, America has long been in a health decline and with the growing rates of obesity and chronic illnesses facing Americans today, what percentage of them are still physically fit? To truly understand the physical fitness of US citizens, it’s important to look at both the prevalence of health-related fitness and the lifestyle habits that make it possible.
What is Health Related Fitness and Why is It Important to Us as Individuals?
Health-related fitness is the ability to perform daily physical activities with enough energy and strength to be able to complete them without undue fatigue. It includes aspects such as strength, endurance, body composition, flexibility, and aerobic capacity. This type of fitness is important to our individual health because it helps us to maintain a healthy body weight, prevents chronic diseases, and encourages longevity.
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What are the US Fitness Guidelines?
The US Department of Health and Human Services has issued the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which are the federal guidelines for physical activity in the US. It recommends that adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and at least two days of muscle-strengthening activities per week. Children and teens should get at least one hour of physical activity daily.
How Many Americans Live a Healthy Lifestyle?
Unfortunately, the most recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that only about 23% of adults in the US meet the fitness guidelines set by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. This suggests that the majority of Americans are not achieving the necessary levels of physical fitness.
Why Do Americans Not Get Enough Exercise?
There are several reasons why Americans don’t get enough exercise. For instance, many of us have busy and demanding work schedules that limit the time we can spend on physical activity. Additionally, many of us have limited access to safe and affordable places to exercise. Finally, a lack of knowledge about the importance of physical activity and the guidelines for it can also prevent us from achieving the proper levels of physical fitness.
Although once renowned for its physical fitness, the current data suggests that America is not quite the health hub it used to be. Only a small percentage of Americans meet the US physical activity guidelines, and this lack of physical fitness can have serious implications for our individual and collective health. To turn this around, we need to prioritize physical activity by encouraging people to get active and providing them with the knowledge, resources, and access to safe and affordable places to do so.