New Exercise Guidelines Are Here
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently published an update on their recommendations for exercise. These guidelines follow an extensive review of the research literature and update guidelines that were previously published in 1998.
The guidelines note four specific areas of exercise: cardiorespiratory fitness and reduction in risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, maintenance of muscular fitness, flexibility and neuromotor fitness.
I will summarize the key recommendations by area of exercise:
Cardiovascular fitness and reduction in risk of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors:
- Moderate intensity aerobic exercise for 30 minutes per day on five or more days per week or
- Vigorous intensity aerobic exercise for 20 minutes per on three or more days per week or
- A combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic exercise resulting in a total energy expenditure of 500 to 1000 MET minutes per week
Resistance training for each of the major muscle groups two or three times per week
Complete a series of flexibility exercises two or more days per week (60 seconds per each of the major muscle and tendon groups
Exercise focusing on balance, agility and coordination for 20 minutes on two or more days per week
The benefits and recommendations for neuromotor exercise have been expanded in this version of the ACSM guidelines. The authors note the growing literature supporting the benefits of exercise such as tai chi and yoga in promoting balance and flexibility. Balance and flexibility become increasingly important to counteract the effects of aging. There is more research support for these types of exercise programs to reduce risk of falls and fall-related medical complications in older individuals.Continued on the next page