Saturday, May 23, 2015

New Exercise Guidelines Add Neuromotor Domain

Bill Yates
Brain Posts
Posted 12th July 2011

Article first published as New Exercise Guidelines Are Here on Technorati.

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.

The guidelines provide a very extensive review of exercise research.  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

The MET (metabolic equivalent of task) minutes per week is a method of quantifying exercise.   By definition, the amount of energy needed at rest is one MET.  Moderate intensity is assigned activities such as walking that can be rated in the 3 to 6 MET range.  Vigorous exercise (such as jogging or running) is rated at MET levels about 6.  A person walking at a 4 MET level for 200 minutes per week would expend 1000 MET minutes in a week meeting the exercise guidelines.

Muscular fitness
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.

Neuromotor Exercise
Exercise focusing on balance, agility and coordination for 20 minutes on two or more days per week.

The benefits and recommendations 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.

The ACSM notes the limited compliance with exercise guideline compliance in the general population.  Although walking is ranked as the more frequency physical activity in adults, less than 10% of walkers meet the weekly guideline threshold for duration and intensity.

The ACSM makes some recommendations to increase compliance with the guidelines:
  • Patients and their physicians should work together to develop and monitor customized programs
  • Use behavioral strategies of "goal setting, social support, reinforcement, problem solving and relapse prevention
  • Further research targeting factors promoting maintenance of exercise compliance over extended periods
The ACSM has provided a valuable to put together a comprehensive exercise program with benefits in many areas.  Now it's time for more individuals to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes meeting these recommended guidelines.

Photo of women getting exercise by walking from the author's private collection.

Garber, C., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M., Franklin, B., Lamonte, M., Lee, I., Nieman, D., & Swain, D. (2011). Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 43 (7), 1334-1359 DOI:10.1249/MSS.0b013e318213fefb

See the original article:

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