02 August 2007

New Exercise Guidelines

When I did an informal survey last year on what is the activity most people have no time for, the top answer that emerged was: exercise. Most people had no time to exercise. Or was that a mere excuse given because most of us have that innate tendency to relax and rest rather than exercise? We'd rather watch TV sitting in the sofa eating our favorite junk food than jog around or do some stretching for several minutes.

Recently, two US health groups issued new exercise guidelines (download the PDF file here) which sought to update the 1995 guidelines because its objectives "had not been fully realized." It seemed physical inactivity had been winning for the past 10 years and more, and that every technological advancement we achieve tends discourage people from exercising. Hence, more people are getting overweight and obese, and more prone to heart diseases and diabetes.

Here are the new exercise guidelines:
1. To promote and maintain good health, adults aged 18–65 yrs old should maintain a physically active lifestyle.

2. They should perform moderate-intensity aerobic (endurance) physical activity for a minimum of 30 min on five days each week or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for a
minimum of 20 min on three days each week.

3. Combinations of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity can be performed to meet this recommendation. For example, a person can meet the recommendation by walking briskly for 30 min twice during the week and then jogging for 20 min on two other days.

4. These moderate- or vigorous intensity activities are in addition to the light intensity activities frequently performed during daily life (e.g., self care, washing dishes, using light tools at a desk) or activities of very short duration (e.g., taking out trash, walking to parking lot at store or office).

5. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity, which is generally equivalent to a brisk walk and noticeably accelerates the heart rate, can be accumulated toward the 30-min minimum by performing bouts each lasting 10 or more minutes.

6. Vigorous-intensity activity is exemplified by jogging, and causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate.

7. In addition, at least twice each week adults will benefit by performing activities using the major muscles of the body that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance.

8. Because of the dose-response relation between physical activity and health, persons who wish to further improve their personal fitness, reduce their risk for chronic diseases and disabilities, or prevent unhealthy weight gain will likely benefit by exceeding the minimum recommended amount of physical activity.

[CIRCULATION, 1 Aug 2007]

In addition to these guidelines, senior citizens aged 65 years and older are also encouraged to exercise regularly depending on their fitness level. They can do strength-training 2 - 3 times weekly, and performing a few more repetitions using lighter weights.

BOTTOMLINE: We are not created to sit and relax. We are created to move and exercise regularly. Over the years, studies have shown that risks for illnesses like heart diseases, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, colon cancer and breast cancer can all be lessened if we engage in regular physical activity.

1 reactions:

Assistive technology said...

Yeah, why bother exercising when we can have so much more fun sitting around and participating in our favorite activities. I read something not long ago about senior driving stretches that help relimber up the neck and torso muscles to make it easier for senior citizens to look around while driving. This reminds me of that.

-Aaron Marks