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Posted on Mar 16, 2005, 4 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Sixty to 90 minutes of exercise. Every day. That's what the government now suggests. Even people working out at the gym say most folks won't consider that, and the experts behind the government's recommendation say 30 minutes a day is enough for most. Paul Steinkoenig, 45, of Arlington, Va., now works out about 90 minutes a day three days a week.
Sixty to 90 minutes of exercise? Every day? That's what the government now suggests.

Even people working out at the gym say most folks won't consider that, and the experts behind the government's recommendation say 30 minutes a day is enough for most.

Paul Steinkoenig, 45, of Arlington, Va., now works out about 90 minutes a day three days a week. Sixty or 90 minutes every day "sounds higher than certainly what the average American is going to consider," he said while using weight machines that the Thomas Jefferson Community Center in Arlington.

I think 60 minutes would be a little much for me," added Joseph Allwein, 84, who was pedaling a stationary bike at the center. Allwein said he bikes, rows or walks for 30 minutes five days a week.

The panel of doctors and scientists that developed the recommendations put an emphasis on getting 30 minutes of exercise. But its 25 pages of recommendations were scaled down to three when they were released as part of the government's new dietary guidelines in January. Those guidelines gave equal billing to the 60- and 90-minute suggestions.

"There's an enormous need to clarify that," said Russell Pate, a panel member and professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina school of public health. "I have no doubt that if we all met that 30-minute guideline, we'd have a lot fewer of us that have weight problems."

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