Healthy Exercise Recommendations By, Krista Rubini DPT

Do you have stress in your life and lack energy? If the answer is yes, exercise is the best remedy for you! Exercise is not only important to control stress and boost energy, but continued exercise will promote a healthy lifestyle and an overall state of wellness. Multiple studies have shown that consistent exercise each week reduces the risk of cardiovascular and pulmonary disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Often times, individuals get caught up in a particular exercise that they enjoy the most or focus on one body area. The human body learns to adapt to exercises continually performed, and therefore it is imperative to use varying exercise principles to address the body as a whole. The question is, how do you change or get started with a full body exercise program? In 2013 the American College of Sports Medicine provided exercise recommendations for adults and older adults based on the quantity and quality of four domains of exercise.

The first type of exercise is cardiorespiratory, which consists of running, walking at a fast pace, swimming, rowing, elliptical, etc. Cardiorespiratory exercise should be performed at least 150 min of moderate intensity exercise per week. If you choose to perform a moderate intensity work out this should be performed 5 times a week for 30-60 min each session. A vigorous intensity work out should be completed 3 times a week for 20-60 min each session. If you feel you do not have the stamina or time in the day for one continuous work out, you can break this into multiple shorter sessions of at least 10 minutes to reach the total amount of daily exercise. A gradual exercise progression is recommended in terms of duration, frequency, and intensity to reduce injuries and increase exercise adherence.

Resistance training is recommended for 2-3 days per week for each major muscle group through the use of different exercises. Very light to light intensity resistance exercises are best for older adults or previously sedentary adults. In order to increase muscular strength and power, 2-4 sets of each exercise should be performed. Repetitions of 8-12 will improve muscular strength and power, 10-15 repetitions will improve strength in the middle-age and older adults, and 15-20 repetitions will increase muscular endurance. Do not train the same muscle group the following day. Your muscles need at least 48 hours of rest to recover and heal. Instead train another muscle group the next day.

Flexibility exercise is recommended to perform 2-3 days per week in order to improve muscle length. You can incorporate flexibility training into your work out by performing the exercises as a warm up or cool down. Perform each stretch 2-4 times and hold for 10-30 seconds each. Stretch to the point of slight discomfort but do not exceed this point. Incorporate major muscle groups such as the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, low back, and chest muscles.

The final recommended exercise type is neuromotor which is often considered “functional fitness training.” Often times this form of exercise is more fun but yet challenging. You can focus on motor skills such as coordination while throwing or kicking a ball. You can perform agility exercises such as quick turns, changing gait speeds, and long or high jumps. Try balance exercises such as holding single leg and tandem stance; further challenge your balance by standing on an unstable surface or have a ball catch. Dual task activities are especially taxing on the neuromotor system such as tai chi and yoga movements.

Integrate these exercise recommendations into your work out program today! Remember to gradually progress the four types of exercise in regards to duration, frequency, and intensity. Rome was not built in a day and neither was your peak physical fitness. Please consult your physician if you have any exercise concerns regarding your current condition and state of health.

Source: ACSM Issues New Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise. (2013). Retrieved on November 29, 2013, from

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