The Diet Detective: 5 Fun Facts About Diet and Fitness

New Exercise Guidelines Issued

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has released new recommendations for the quantity and quality of exercise for adults. A summary of the recommendations follows:

Cardiorespiratory Exercise:

  • 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 or multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate the desired amount of daily exercise.

Resistance Exercise:

  • 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.

Flexibility Exercise

  • 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 or Functional Fitness Exercises

  • Should be done two or three days per week.
  • Exercises should involve motor skills (balance, agility, coordination and gait), proprioceptive [unconscious perception of movement ]exercise training and multifaceted activities (e.g., yoga) to improve physical function and prevent falls in older adults.
  • 20-30 minutes per day is appropriate for neuromotor exercise.

Should You Exercise in the Morning or the Evening?

According to The National Sleep Foundation, adults need to get seven to nine hours of sleep per day, but nearly 25 percent of people in the U.S. do not. One of the best ways to get a good night's sleep is to exercise.

Researchers with Appalachian State University studied the effects of exercise timing on the sleep patterns of six male and three female subjects. "Each subject visited the lab on three separate occasions at pre-determined times—one at 7 a.m., one at 1 p.m. and one at 7 p.m.—for 30 minutes of treadmill exercise. At night, subjects wore a sleep-monitoring headband to measure sleep stage time and quality of sleep.

"Aerobic exercise at 7 a.m. invoked significantly greater improvements in quality of sleep compared to exercise at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. When subjects exercised in the morning, they spent more time in light sleep by 85 percent and more time in deep sleep by 75 percent. Exercising at 7 a.m. also caused a 20 percent increase in sleep cycle frequency."

Moving Backward Can Help an Injured Knee

Do you have a knee injury? Try pedaling backward on an elliptical machine. Participants who used backward locomotion showed significantly greater gains in quadriceps and hamstring strength. Additionally, they had greater aerobic capacity than the forward-locomotion group.


Charles Stuart Platkin is an Active Expert, nutrition and public health advocate, author of the best seller Breaking the Pattern (Plume, 2005), Breaking the FAT Pattern (Plume, 2006) and Lighten Up (Penguin USA/Razorbill, 2006) and founder of Integrated Wellness Solutions and DietDetective.com. Sign up for The Diet Detective newsletter free at www.dietdetective.com.

Copyright 2011 by Charles Stuart Platkin

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM