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Physical Activity: Keep Moving for a Better Life

About one-third of upstate NY report that they have not done any physical activity in the past 30 days. Nearly two-thirds of adults in upstate NY are classified as overweight or obese. New evidence shows there is a strong link between being sedentary and the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. All forms of physical activity can help offset these risks.


Physical activity has many health benefits independent of other healthy behaviors, such as good nutrition. Yet about one-third of upstate NY report that they have not done any physical activity in the past 30 days and nearly two-thirds of adults in upstate NY are classified as overweight or obese.

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Moderate physical activity includes brisk walking or fast dancing. Adults also need to engage in strength-based activities, like lifting weights, at least 2 days each week. Only 15 percent of upstate NY adults report doing enough physical activity to meet the aerobic and strength physical activity guidelines. For older adults, physical activity can lower the risk of falling and of being injured in a fall.

Adults are not the only ones who need to think about physical activity. Children ages 6-17 need at least one hour of moderate-to-vigorous activity every day. They should also include both aerobic activity (walking running) and strength-based activities (climbing on the playground, jumping rope). Preschool-aged children should be active for at least 3 hours per day to support growth and development.

Physical activity has many health benefits independent of other healthy behaviors, like good nutrition.

Short term benefits of physical activity:

  1. Reducing anxiety 
  2. Reducing blood pressure
  3. Improving the quality of sleep
  4. Improving insulin sensitivity

Long term benefits of physical activity:

  1. Prevent 8 types of cancer including bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, stomach and lung  
  2. Reduce the risk of dementia 
  3. Reduce heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure 
  4. Reduce type 2 diabetes and depression
  5. Improve bone health, physical function, and quality of life

Move more – sit less! New evidence shows there is a strong link between being sedentary and the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. All forms of physical activity can help offset these risks. Even short stints of physical activity are beneficial. Some physical activity is better than none.

According to self-reported data from the 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System:

  • Percent of adults that engaged in any physical activity in the last 30 days
    • New York state: 64%
    • Upstate New York: 65%
    • Western New York: 65%
    • Finger Lakes: 67%
    • Central New York: 69%
    • Southern Tier: 62%
    • Utica/Rome/North Country: 64%

 

  • Percent of adults that reported doing enough physical activity to meet the aerobic and strength physical activity guidelines:
    • New York state: 16%
    • Upstate New York: 15%
    • Western New York: 19%
    • Finger Lakes: 15%
    • Central New York: 15%
    • Southern Tier: 9%
    • Utica/Rome/North Country: 15%

 

  • Percent of adults that have ever been told by a doctor that they have high blood pressure:
    • New York state: 29%
    • Upstate New York: 34%
    • Western New York: 37%
    • Finger Lakes: 32%
    • Central New York: 29%
    • Southern Tier: 34%
    • Utica/Rome/North Country: 33%

 

  • Percent of adults that are classified as overweight or obese:
    • New York state: 61%
    • Upstate New York: 65%
    • Western New York: 67%
    • Finger Lakes: 63%
    • Central New York: 64%
    • Southern Tier: 67%
    • Utica/Rome/North Country: 67%