The following Guidelines come from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) website (www.acsm.org). ACSM, founded is 1954, is an organization that promotes research, education, and practical application for sports medicine and exercise science. This research helps exercise professionals provide the most up-to-date and reliable information to those we work with. Continue reading to see how your workouts “measure up” to the guidelines.
- Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
- Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).
- One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise.
- Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk.
- People unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.
- Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
- Very light or light intensity is best for older persons or previously sedentary adults starting exercise.
- Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power.
- For each exercise, 8-12 repetitions improve strength and power, 10-15 repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older persons starting exercise, and 15-20 repetitions improve muscular endurance.
- Adults should wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.
- Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.
- Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort.
- Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch.
- Static, dynamic, ballistic and PNF stretches are all effective.
- Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching.
- Neuromotor exercise (sometimes called “functional fitness training”) is recommended for two or three days per week.
- Exercises should involve motor skills (balance, agility, coordination and gait), proprioceptive exercise training and multifaceted activities (tai ji and yoga) to improve physical function and prevent falls in older adults.
- 20-30 minutes per day is appropriate for neuromotor exercise.
How did you do? Did you meet all the guidelines? If so, great and keep doing what you are doing! If not, do your best to add in the rest of the guidelines that you missed to your workouts. They will help you become your healthiest and happiest self! Feel free to look at the ACSM website or ask any of the personal trainers, many of which are certified by ACSM, here at Personally Fit if you have any questions or need recommendations.
It is important to get plenty of sleep each night. There are numerous reasons for needing sleep. Today we are focusing on how not getting enough sleep could lead to weight gain. I chose to cover this specific reason because many people join the gym to try to lose weight. No matter how hard you work in the gym, if you are not living a healthy lifestyle outside of the gym, you most likely will not see many (if any) improvements. One important part of living a healthy lifestyle is to make sure you are getting enough sleep each night.
Especially in the direction that the world is going today with two-wage earner households and 24-hour entertainment through television and the internet, it has become increasingly difficult to get enough good quality sleep. In 1998, only 35% of Americans were getting eight hours of sleep. This number has since dropped to 26% in 2005.1 This lack of sleep is causing a bad cycle of overeating and not sleeping well that is not helping anyone improve their health. Enough sleep each night is needed so that your body can go through the sleep cycle and obtain the benefits from the each stage. What happens in each stage is listed below.
- N1: between being awake and being asleep
- N2: Onset of sleep
- N3: deepest and most restorative sleep
- REM: Occurs about 90 minutes into sleep and repeats about every 90 minutes throughout the night
*** To learn about what happens to your body during each stage please visit the following website: https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/what-happens-when-you-sleep
If sleep is cut short (ie. You are not getting the full eight hours needed), “the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite.”2
Sleep has a large effect on your hormones. Two hormones that mainly effect your appetite are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin tells you when you are full, and ghrelin tells you when you are hungry. When you are not getting enough sleep, leptin levels decrease and ghrelin levels increase. This leads to you over eating, especially carbohydrates.4 Those who do not get enough sleep are typically seen eating smaller breakfasts but then increasing food intake throughout the day. Those who are not getting enough sleep are also seen getting 42% more calories from carbohydrates, protein, and fiber at night after dinner compared those who obtained enough sleep.4
The findings provided by research, “indicate that total sleep deprivation or insufficient sleep both increase daily food intake, thus providing further support that one function of sleep in humans is to conserve a small but physiologically meaningful amount of energy.”4 Insufficient sleep is now considered an independent risk factor for weight gain and obesity. Obesity is then a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is important to get enough sleep so that you are not trying to find the energy you missed in food!
- Patel, S., Malhotra, A., White, D., Gottlieb, D., & Hu, F. (2006). Association between reduced sleep and weight gain in women. American Journal of Epidemiology, 164(10), 947-954. 10.1093/aje/kwj280
- National Sleep Foundation (2012). What happens when you sleep? National Sleep Foundation.
- John Hopkins University. The science of sleep: Understanding what happens when you sleep. Healthy Sleep.
- Markwald, R. et al. (2013). Impact of insufficient sleep on total daily energy expenditure, food intake, and weight gain. National Academy of Sciences, 110(14), 5695-5700.
It is well known that regular exercise has a beneficial affect on “cardiovascular fitness and function, muscular strength, bone mineral density, weight management, metabolic health, disease prevention and management, as well as mortality.”3 Another benefit of exercise that is not as well known is its effect on cognitive function. For this blog, we will be defining cognitive function as “the mental faculty of knowing, which includes perceiving, recognizing, conceiving, judging, reasoning, and imagining.”3 Cognitive function can be broken down into four subcategories: (1) receptive functions (classifying), (2) memory and learning, (3) thinking, and (4) expressive functions.
First, we will examine exercise’s effects on cognitive functioning in children (4-18 years old). A review by Zoeller (see references) mentioned that there was a significant positive relationship between physical activity and all subcategories of cognitive function except for memory.3 Lately, schools around the United States have been eliminating or decreasing the time spent in a physical education class. Some argue that the reason this is happening is to give the students more time in classes to improve academic performance. However, studies have found that removing this class is doing just the opposite. Students are not preforming as well academically as they did when they were involved in a physical education class multiple times a week.3 This is because of physical activity’s effect on cognitive function. To add to this, prolonged sedentary behavior may be connected to lower levels of attention. This may mean that to get a student to pay attention, give them some time to be active throughout the day.1 It has also been shown that the more students exercise the better they perform academically, the higher their IQ scores, and the better they score on important exams like the SATs.3 Get your children exercising and you may see similar results.
Cognitive function begins going downhill with age especially when it comes to speed and memory.3 With Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease numbers increasing, the influence of exercise on brain function becomes even more important.2 After accounting for genetics, those who exercised more than 3 days per week still had a 34% lower risk of developing Alzheimer disease compared with those who exercised fewer than three days per week.3 This is a large percentage for doing something as simple as moving around at least three days a week. In fact, the type of exercise (aerobic vs. resistance training) has not been shown to have an effect on the amount of cognitive improvements seen. The greatest benefit comes from programs that include both aerobic (ex. Running) and resistance training.3 You can pick any activity and still reap the benefits! In fact, one study found that there was a dose-response relationship between cognitive function and walking. This means that you could just walk in order to see benefits, but the longer and faster you walk increases the benefits and also lowers your chance for dementia.3 Not only will exercising provide improvements in cognitive function, but it will also help fight off some diseases.2
Studies recommend that you exercise for at least 30 minutes three days a week at a moderate intensity for at least six months in order to get the most benefit when it comes to cognitive function. Now you have another reason to exercise! So get up, get moving, and keep moving your way to a healthier life!
Personally Fit now offers a class called Afterburn. This class is only a half hour and takes place during lunch time so that people can participate during the work day. One of the goals of this class is to continue to burn calories after the class has ended. How is it possible to continue to burn a substantial number of calories after a workout is already completed? It is because of a phenomenon called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
EPOC is a term used to describe the increased oxygen uptake during the recovery period of an exercise.1 The body is constantly trying to maintain homeostasis, a state of equilibrium, so in order to return to a “normal” state, the body will need to burn energy to get there. Therefore, EPOC contributes to the energy expended during a workout causing you to burn more calories after the workout has ended.1
The intensity of the session is the main factor to contribute to the magnitude and duration of EPOC. The higher the intensity, the higher EPOC, the more calories burned. Studies have shown that exercises done to fatigue tend to result in a greater and more sustained EPOC than those not performed to fatigue.1
One study looked at the difference in EPOC after a continuous bout of aerobic exercise (ex. Cycling for 30 minutes) and sprint intervals on a cycle ergometer. A cycle ergometer is a bike that you can pedal but does not move (like those found in gyms). For this study, the continuous exercise bout consisted of riding a cycle ergometer for 30 minutes. The sprint intervals were three all-out 30 second bouts with four minutes of rest in between. Therefore, the actual exercise time for the sprint intervals is only one and a half minutes. The study found that, even though the continuous exercise lasted much longer, the sprint intervals burn more calories in the end. In fact, EPOC was a whole 34% higher; meaning that the participant burned approximately 34% more calories.1 This is because the intensity was so much higher. Previous research has shown that more calories may be burned during the continuous exercise session compared to sprint intervals, but, because of EPOC and the body’s homeostatic nature, sprint intervals will result in a greater net caloric expenditure at the end of the day.1 While increasing the duration of the exercise will increase EPOC and therefore energy expenditure, increasing the intensity of the exercise will account for a greater percent increase in EPOC.3
EPOC also occurs during resistance/strength training as well. One way to prolong energy expenditure is to have smaller rest intervals between sets.2 However, you need to do this with caution. Make sure to recover enough to complete the set before starting. Another study showed that high-volume resistance training and high intensity interval aerobic training creates a higher energy expenditure after the workout for up to 21 hours when compared to continuous exercising. At the 21-hour mark post-exercise, the resistance training and high intensity training were still burning about 12 calories/hour more than the continuous exercisers.3 This could add up to be more than 300 more calories burned per day!3 However, all this good news comes with a disclaimer: as you become better trained, the caloric expenditure post-exercise will decrease. All the more reason to continue to push yourself and work above and beyond your goals!
This is part of the reason why high intensity interval training is so popular. You are able to burn a great deal of calories in a shorter amount of time, and this is what makes Afterburn such a great class especially if you are looking to lose weight. See you in class!
- Townsend, J., Stout, J., Morton, A., Jajtner, A., Gonzalez, A., Wells, A., . . . Cosio-Lima, L. (2013). excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (epoc) following multiple effort sprint and moderate aerobic exercise. Kinesiology, 45(1), 16-21.
- Miskowiec, R. W., Scott, M. C., & Nelson, A. G. (2015). Rest interval effects on prolonged epoc: 2395 board #142 may 29, 9. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 47, 644. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000478474.53932.c1
- Greer, B. K., Sirithienthad, P., Moffatt, R. J., Marcello, R. T., & Panton, L. B. (2015). EPOC comparison between isocaloric bouts of steady-state aerobic, intermittent aerobic, and resistance training. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 86(2), 190-195. doi:10.1080/02701367.2014.999190
Did you know that by participating in physical activity and exercise, you are helping yourself fight off germs? By exercising at a moderate intensity, you are boosting your immune system and thereby fighting off illnesses. Other ways to help your immune system is to eat a healthy diet and reduce stress.1 Health care professionals can say with confidence that exercising regularly will help their patients boost their immune system and result in better health.
This does not mean you should go to the gym for as long as possible and work the hardest you possibly can when you start to feel sick. High intensity exercise will actually compromise the immune system’s ability to fight off the germs. Instead, try participating in moderate intensity exercise for 30-45 minutes three to five days a week. This will allow you to further enhance your immune system.1 You could go on a faster-paced walk, ride your bike, or hop on the elliptical to meet these recommendations. Most studies look at the effects of aerobic exercise (like the examples just mentioned) rather than resistance exercise when studying the effects of exercise on immunity. Studies that have been done with resistance training have shown no benefits, but no negative side effects either.1
Not only will exercising help to fight flues and colds but also cancers. Regular exercise can prevent cancer and increase the survivor rate in those who already have cancer. In fact, it may reduce all-cause cancer rates by 45%.1 That’s surely a high enough percentage to get me moving! Along with cancer, pneumonia/influenza, septicaemia and nephritis are among the top 10 leading causes of death in people over the age of 65 in the United States.2 Therefore, it is of utmost importance to keep the immune system healthy throughout the aging process. Doing something as simple as staying active has the ability to do just that! Exercising regularly is associated with numerous physiological benefits that help out the immune system: enhanced vaccination responses, increased neutrophil (type of white blood cell) phagocytic activity, lowered inflammatory response to bacterial challenge, and many more.1
Those that feel healthier are healthier. One study found that “80% to 90% of regular exercisers perceive themselves as less vulnerable to viral illnesses compared to sedentary peers.”1 This is all just one more reason to stay active and continue to exercise. It doesn’t matter which form it takes, just keep moving!
- Hart, J. (2014). The positive impact of exercise on immunity. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 20(2), 88-90. 10.
- Simpson, R., Lowder, T., Spielmann, G., Bigley, A., LaVoy, E., & Kunz, H. (2012). Exercise and the aging immune system. Ageing Research Reviews, 11(3), 404-420.