Monday, November 28, 2016

Getting the Right Amount of Exercise

Hiking provides a good workout for me.
On the way down to Blacksburg yesterday for a basketball game, my friend and coach Susan and I got into an exchange about how much exercise is the right amount for a guy my age (70).  Susan had several pretty strong recommendations which, on the surface, seemed pretty light to me, but this morning she sent me the official guidelines and they are close to what she recommended Sunday.

That gives me considerable comfort because it's awfully close to what I've been doing for a good while. During the cool/cold months, I work two or three times a week in a gym, but when it's warm, I'm outside, hiking, kayaking or doing other types of brisk exercise--as much for the joy of it as for the exercise.

Here are the recommendations Susan sent:

The basic American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommendations – categorized by cardiorespiratory exercise, resistance exercise, flexibility exercise and neuro-motor exercise – are as follows:

Cardio-respiratory ExerciseAdults 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.

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.

Neuro-motor Exercise
Neuro-motor 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 neur-omotor exercise.

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