Get Moving, America!


The title is a quote from the NPR article I read on November 12th, which goes over the updated Physical Activity Guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the first time since 2008.

If you’ve read any of my columns that have covered research related to sedentariness, the info in the HHS updates won’t be a shock to you. The recommendations are similar to those issued in 2008: adults need a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity to achieve sustained health benefits.

“What has changed this time around,” writes NPR reporter Allison Aubrey, “is an emphasis – for people who are sedentary – to increase movement in their lives even in very short increments.” In short, “Move More, Sit Less”:

“Everything counts,” says Loretta DiPietro, an epidemiologist at George Washington University who helped write the review of the science on physical activity, upon which the new guidelines are based.

So, if you take the stairs instead of the elevator and it takes you 3 minutes to climb, you can count that toward your daily goal. Since lack of time is a major obstacle to fitting in exercise, the new message is to aim to engineer more movement into your day.

“Everything adds up and contributes to reduced risk for diseases and day-to-day feeling better,” says Kathleen Janz, of the University of Iowa, who also served on the committee reviewing the science of physical activity.

Now, as the scientists point out, taking the stairs or laps around your office will do. As an active adult, however, you might be thinking to yourself that it almost seems too easy. I agree, which is why I added a picture of two adults running in the snow (nudge nudge).

Okay, you may not be a fan of snow running, fine, I get that. But what about just walking it?

We need about 22 minutes a day to achieve our 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. How long do you think it would take to walk a mile outside this winter at a moderate pace (factoring in the effort of walking through snow if there is any)? About 22 minutes.

What?! Walk outside in the winter? Who would do that?

I’m so glad you asked. Our very good friends at Up and Running (UAR) in Washington Square will be offering their second annual “Frozen Feet,” an event challenge, where participants commit to walking or running a mile a day outside, every day, between the first week of January and the middle of February, which amounts to about 5 weeks of mile-long walks, or 35 miles, which may seem like a lot from where you are standing today, but it actually goes by pretty quickly once you get started.

Will you consider it? I’m signing up, and my partner Deb (though she doesn’t know it yet) is signing up as well. I want to sign you up, and fifty of your Practice friends as well. Details are forthcoming, and I will send them to you as soon as UAR publishes them. But if you are intrigued and are considering it, please reply to this or email me at and I will add you to my holiday wish list, because my greatest wish is that you and every member of the Practice community enjoys the the vibrant health that comes from moving well every day.

Happy holidays to you!


P.S. If you want to get started with your outdoor adventure this month and you want recommendations for warm weather walking/running shoes and apparel, please go see our friends at Up & Running. They are in the Washington Square plaza, just a hop away from DLM.


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