Move It! New Exercise Guidelines
Crystal-Clear Exercise Advice From U.S. Heart, Sports Medicine Groups
Aug. 8, 2007 -- New exercise guidelines make it crystal clear: To be
healthy, you gotta move.
That's more than a Rolling Stones lyric -- it's a minimum requirement for
health, says an expert panel from the American Heart Association and the
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
In 1995, the CDC and the ACSM published national exercise guidelines. What
"Physical inactivity remains a pressing public health issue," note
Stanford researcher William L. Haskell, PhD, and his fellow panel members.
"Data from 2005 indicate that less than half -- 49.1% -- of U.S. adults met
the CDC/ACSM physical activity recommendation.
Maybe, Haskell and colleagues suggest, the 1995 message wasn't entirely
clear. For example, they suggested exercise on "most, preferably all days
of the week." Perhaps this was too confusing.
To erase any uncertainty, the new guidelines spell out what you have to do
in graphic detail: To be healthy, you must exercise.
You need two kinds of exercise. The first kind is aerobic exercise -- the
move-your-butt kind. That means:
- Walk briskly for 30 minutes five days a week, or
- Jog for 20 minutes three days a week, or
- Mix walking and running. For example, walk briskly for 30 minutes twice a
week and jog 20 minutes twice a week.
- You can break these activities up into 10-minute segments, but not into
- You can substitute other moderate-intensity activities for walking. But you
can't count low-level daily activities -- such as walking from the parking lot
to the grocery store or taking out the trash -- as exercise.
- You can substitute other vigorous-intensity activities for running, as long
as your heart rate noticeably goes up and you start to breathe fast.
The second kind of exercise is strength training. This means activities --
such as weight lifting -- that use the major muscles of the body. You should do
eight to 10 exercises on two different days at least one day apart. These
exercises should result in "substantial fatigue after eight to 12
repetitions of each exercise," the guidelines state.
Here's the bad news: This is just the minimum required for health. More is
needed to improve fitness, reduce disease risk, and/or prevent weight gain.
Here's the good news: If you get at least the minimum amount of regular exercise, you significantly
cut your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes,
osteoporosis, obesity, colon cancer, breast cancer, anxiety, and depression.
And you very likely slow age-related decline of mental function.
The new guidelines appear in the August issue of the ACSM journal
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
- Want great exercise advice? Visit WebMD expert Rich Weil, MEd, CDE, on his
Exercise and Fitness