Surveyors asked 453,721 participants from a nationally-representative sample about the frequency, intensity, and duration of the aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities they’d spent the most time doing in the past week or month. The results: A measly 17.9 percent of women met the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s physical activity guidelines, which call for two strength-training sessions per week, plus 75 to 150 minutes of high- to moderate-intensity aerobic activity. The men did better—but not by much: About 23 percent of them moved enough.
The thing is, it’s not tough to meet the government’s exercise guidelines—especially because you can (and should) break them up throughout the week into sessions that can be as short as 10 minutes each. And it’s time well spent: Physical activity has been linked to benefits you can’t put a price tag on—like a longer life and lower risk of weight gain and disease, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines.