Jump for joy! The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated their physical activity guidelines with a considerable nod to bone health.
We have known for a long time about the importance of physical activity for bone health. Now we have official guidelines to support our efforts!
Children are building bone at a rapid rate as they grow. Being active and doing lots of different kinds of movements boosts bone development by stimulating the bone-building cells (osteoclasts). The new guidelines recommend 3 hours a day of physical activity for children aged 3 through 5.
As children’s bones and bodies get stronger, between age 6 and 17, they should add moderate-to-vigorous activity at least one hour each day and bone- and muscle-strengthening at least 3 days a week. Moderate activity means that you can still talk, but not sing while you are doing it. When you do a vigorous activity, you cannot say more than a few words without stopping to take a breath.
The new guidelines go on to encourage adults to step it up. Physical activity, especially activity that strengthens muscles, also strengthens bones. This is a great way to maintain bone mass as you age. Adults should get 2½–5 hours (150–300 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 1¼–2½ hours (75–150 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. They should also do muscle strength-training at least 2 days a week.
Finally, adults must add balance activities as they age. Having excellent balance means you can stand on one leg for 38 seconds. With excellent balance, you can reduce the risk of falling and if you do fall, you are less likely to be injured.