New Exercise Recommendations

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[View FULL Article] All healthy adults ages 18 to 65 years need moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five days each week or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 20 minutes on three days each week, according to updated physical activity guidelines released last week by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA).

Further, adults will benefit from performing activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance for at least two days each week. It is recommended that 8-10 exercises using the major muscle groups be performed on two non-consecutive days. To maximize strength development, a resistance (weight) should be used for 8-12 repetitions of each exercise resulting in willful fatigue.

The preventive recommendation specifies how adults, by engaging in regular physical activity, can promote and maintain health, and reduce risk of chronic disease and premature death.

A companion recommendation similar to the updated ACSM/AHA recommendation for adults is specifically applied to adults age 65 and older, and adults age 50-64 with chronic conditions or physical functional limitations (e.g. arthritis) that affect movement ability or physical fitness.

The recommendations are an update and clarification of the 1995 recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ACSM on the types and amounts of physical activity needed by healthy adults to improve and maintain health. The intent is to provide a more comprehensive and explicit public health recommendation for adults based upon available evidence of the health benefits of physical activity.

The core recommendation remains fundamentally unchanged despite more than 10 years passing since it was issued. New science has been evaluated to understand the biological mechanisms by which physical activity provides health benefits and the physical activity profile (type, intensity, amount) that is associated with enhanced health and quality of life. This publication reflects a review of that evidence, and considers key issues not fully clarified in the original recommendation.

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