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Bad News For Couch Potatoes

New government guidelines have doubled the recommended daily requirement for exercise from one-half hour a day to to one hour per day.

Medical Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay discussed the change for The Early Show. .

The Institute Of Medicine guidelines are calculated on how much energy is expended in the daily activity of people who maintain a healthy weight. Research found that people in sedentary jobs who do the previously recommended 30 minutes a day of exercise are still likely to gain weight, even though they're getting the cardiovascular benefit of exercise.

Those not used to physical activity may shudder at the thought of working out in a gym an hour a day, but Senay said this isn't always necessary.

Moderate-exercise activities that most people can handle pretty easily include walking, slow swimming and bicycle riding.

An hour of exercise doesn't have to be accomplished all at once. There are small changes you can make to increase activity through the course of your day, such as getting off the bus a few stops early and walking briskly to and from work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking to the store instead of taking the car.

Senay said you can do several less ambitious activities throughout the day and get basically the same health benefits as those who do their hour all at once. On the other hand, you can cut your hour in half by doing more vigorous activity, such as jogging.

The dietary recommendations are:
Adults should get:

  • 45 percent to 65 percent of their daily calories from carbohydrates
  • 25 percent maximum of calories from added sugars
  • 20 percent to 35 percent from fats
  • 10 percent to 35 percent from protein

Previous guidelines called for getting more calories from carbohydrates and less from fat. Flexibility in the dietary components is allowed because fats, carbohydrates and protein can all serve as sources of energy, and can substitute for one another in providing calories.