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Physical Activity Guidelines Mention Technology

The U.S. Government for Health and Human Services released the latest physical activity guidelines in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition in 2018. The work was done by the physical activity guidelines committee and is based on an extensive review of the scientific literature on physical activity and health. These guidelines are largely the base for the recommendations for physical activity in many countries around the world. The guidelines provide guidance on the amounts and types of physical activity necessary to maintain or improve overall health and reduce the risk of, or even prevent, chronic disease. The document is an important resource for health professionals and policymakers as they design and implement physical activity programs, policies, and promotion initiatives.

The main purpose of the guidelines is to provide an update on what is known about physical activity (aerobic and musculoskeletal) and health. Secondly, the daily and weekly exercise recommendations for different age groups from children to older adults are given. Sleep is also mentioned. In the “Taking actions” and intensity-related chapters, technology is mentioned, even though very shortly and only regarding the physical activity. This is a pity, since many wearables can provide useful 24/7 data and are used today by large population groups. Accoding to the guidelines, technology-based approaches can take many forms. They can be used to provide virtual coaching to help people set and monitor physical activity goals. They can be used alone or combined with other strategies. Step counters (pedometers) and other wearable activity monitors combined with behavioral strategies, such as goal-setting and coaching, increase physical activity by providing physical activity feedback directly to the user. Further, according the guidelines, technology can also be used to provide guidance remotely to individuals through text messaging, by telephone, or through the Internet. It is stated that for those with lower computer or technology literacy or living in remote areas, computer-tailored mailings can increase physical activity. The use of smartphone applications can increase regular physical activity in children and adolescents.


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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.

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