Tips from Other Journals

Physical Activity Recommendations for Healthy Adults

Am Fam Physician. 2008 Feb 15;77(4):513.

Background: Inadequate physical activity continues to be related to poorer disease outcomes and is associated, in prospective observational studies, with obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association convened an expert panel to review research and other recommendations published since the original report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ACSM in 1995.

Recommendations: The recommendations apply to healthy adults between 18 and 65 years of age and those for whom chronic conditions do not impair their abilities to exercise. The recommendations clarify the amount and types of aerobic activity needed to promote and maintain health and to reduce the risk of chronic disease. The guidelines explicitly recommend weight and resistance training to promote musculoskeletal health. Combinations of moderate and vigorous activities can be used to achieve the requirements. The accompanying table lists the components of the recommendations.

To determine the value of each activity, the authors suggest calculating the activity dose, which is determined by the intensity, duration, and frequency of the activity, and using assigned values called metabolic equivalents (METs) that reflect the energy expenditure for a given activity. For example, sitting quietly represents one MET, whereas jogging at six miles per hour represents 10 METs. Multiplying the MET value by the activity duration (in minutes) results in a total (in MET.min). Healthy adults should expend between 450 and 750 MET.min per week to achieve the recommended minimum.

Table

Activity Recommendations for Healthy Adults

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) for 30 minutes or longer at least five times per week, or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., jogging) for 20 minutes or longer at least three days per week

Moderate and vigorous-intensity activity is complementary

Combinations of different activities can produce health benefits

Shorter bouts of activity (for at least 10 minutes) may contribute to daily total

Use METs to calculate the total activity value

A comprehensive list of MET values are available at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/compendium.htm

Healthy adults should expend from 450 to 750 MET.min per week

Resistance or weight training using the major muscle groups is recommended at least two times per week on nonconsecutive days

These activities are in addition to the routine activities of daily living

There is a dose-response effect: exceeding the minimum requirements further reduces the risk of inactivity-related chronic illness


MET = metabolic equivalent; MET.min = MET value of activity multiplied by activity duration (in minutes).

Table   Activity Recommendations for Healthy Adults

View Table

Table

Activity Recommendations for Healthy Adults

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) for 30 minutes or longer at least five times per week, or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., jogging) for 20 minutes or longer at least three days per week

Moderate and vigorous-intensity activity is complementary

Combinations of different activities can produce health benefits

Shorter bouts of activity (for at least 10 minutes) may contribute to daily total

Use METs to calculate the total activity value

A comprehensive list of MET values are available at http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/compendium.htm

Healthy adults should expend from 450 to 750 MET.min per week

Resistance or weight training using the major muscle groups is recommended at least two times per week on nonconsecutive days

These activities are in addition to the routine activities of daily living

There is a dose-response effect: exceeding the minimum requirements further reduces the risk of inactivity-related chronic illness


MET = metabolic equivalent; MET.min = MET value of activity multiplied by activity duration (in minutes).

Conclusion: At least one half of American adults are not getting adequate physical activity, which contributes to increasing rates of obesity, morbidity, and mortality from many chronic diseases. These recommendations explain the minimum requirements needed to maintain health. Emerging research suggests that even greater health improvements may result from increasing the amount of physical activity.

Source

Haskell WL, et al. Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Circulation. August 28, 2007;116:1081–1093.


Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact afpserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions


Article Tools

  • Print page
  • Share this page
  • AFP CME Quiz

Information From Industry

Navigate this Article