This blog was written by Jenna Pearson. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has issued new guidelines for the Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults. What exactly does this mean? Simply put, it means that fitness professionals now have a new framework to use when developing exercise programs.
If you think of exercise as medicine (which, in fact, it is!), personal trainers and corporate fitness centers are now using new guidelines for prescriptions of this miracle drug (including dosage and use).
Following are the recommendations for each type of fitness:
- Cardiorespiratory fitness is developed through training that improves the efficiency of the aerobic energy-producing systems and can improve cardiorespiratory endurance. The ACSM recommends apparently healthy individuals to partake in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week or 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three days per week. This can be achieved by one continuous session per day, or multiple shorter sessions of at least 10 minutes in duration.
- Musculoskeletal fitness is developed through resistance/strength training. To have musculoskeletal fitness, you do not necessarily have to have great muscle strength. You should, however, train all major muscle groups 2 to 3 days per week, using 2 to 4 sets and 8 to 20 repetitions as the range for each exercise. A regimen including 8 to 12 different exercises should serve to exercise all major muscles in the body.
- Neuromotor fitness is “functional fitness,” and can be improved through a variety of balance, agility, coordination, and proprioception exercises (think yoga and Pilates). The ACSM recommends these exercises be incorporated into an exercise program 2 to 3 days per week for 20 to 30 minutes per session.
In addition to these recommendations, the ACSM also suggests that healthy adults participate in flexibility training at least 2 to 3 days a week. Similar to strength training, a flexibility routine should target all major muscle groups. Each stretch should be held 10 to 30 seconds (to the point of slight discomfort, but not pain) and should be repeated 2 to 4 times so that each muscle group is stretched for a total of 60 seconds.
Considering these guidelines, how would you rate your current fitness routine? If you are meeting the minimum requirements, keep up the great work! If not, remember that all of these requirements do not have to be met in one single exercise session. If you have an onsite fitness center, make sure you are taking advantage of all that your wellness center staff can offer you!