Exercise :: New fitness guidelines clarify how much exercise is really enough

Most American adults don’t exercise enough, but updated national guidelines for physical fitness allow for flexibility and will make it easier to determine how much is enough to maintain good health, according to Health Fitness Corporation (HFC) (OTC Bulletin Board: HFIT), a national leader in worksite health management.

The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association released the new national guidelines Aug_1. For the first time in a dozen years, experts updated and clarified national physical activity guidelines which define the minimum physical activity required to maintain good health.

The lead author of the report is William L. Haskell of Stanford University’s School of Medicine, who also serves on HFC’s Science Advisory Board.

“The new standards don’t wipe away the old guidelines, but clarify them and make it much easier to interpret a mixed batch of exercise intensity levels,” said Gregg Lehman, Ph.D., president and CEO of HFC. “We are already incorporating the guidelines into all our health management products, including our health assessments, fitness management protocols, and our EMPOWERED(TM) health coaching materials.”

“Developing a culture of health requires a clear understanding of what steps our employees should take to stay healthy and reduce the risks for chronic illness,” Lehman said. “HFC associates at worksites nationwide have the expertise to apply these guidelines, as well as nutrition and other health management protocols, so they can help individuals meet their health management goals.”

HFC is a leading provider of employee health management programs. Managing more than 400 fitness centers globally, the company also offers a suite of health management services on-site, Web-based and telephonically.

The guidelines were developed by an expert panel of scientists, including physicians, epidemiologists, exercise scientists, and public health specialists. The panel considered new scientific evidence relating physical activity to health, physical activity recommendations released by respected organizations since the original guidelines were released in 1995, and considered ways to clearly communicate the guidelines.

The group recommended that, in order to maintain good health, all healthy adults need moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (such as brisk walking) for at least 30 minutes for five days each week, or vigorous- intensity aerobic physical activity (such as jogging) for at least 20 minutes for three days each week. The report helpfully outlines variations and combinations of vigorous-intensity workouts and moderate-intensity workouts, and also recommends that every adult should perform activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance at least two days each week. Those who want to lose weight or improve their personal fitness should exercise more than the minimum recommendations.

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