Exciting times are at hand in the area health promotion, disease prevention and health care.  Both nationally and internationally, key events, that are creating a movement in health promotion, are emerging to give consistent messages reinforcing the important benefits of regular exercise.  The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines published by the Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Exercise is Medicine initiative jointly sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Medical Association (AMA) give those that are acknowledging the month of May as National Physical Fitness and Sport Month some important points to reinforce and remember.

Exercise is Medicine is an initiative focused on encouraging health care providers to include exercise when designing treatment plans for patients.  This initiative is committed to the belief that exercise and physical activity are integral in the prevention and treatment of diseases and should be assessed as part of medical care.  A key component involves calling on health care providers, regardless of specialty, to review and assess every patient’s physical activity level at every visit.  Patients should be counseled on exercise regimens, with office visits concluding with exercise clearance and prescription or referral to a certified health and fitness professional.  The initiative aims to have physical activity recorded as a vital sign during patient visits and to encourage able patients to meet the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines (see below).  The guiding principles are designed to improve the health and well-being of our nation through a regular physical activity prescription from doctors and other health care providers or from a health and fitness professional working with the health care provider.  Source:  Exercise is Medicine.org

The next time you see your doctor, s/he might do more than just tell you to get some exercise – they could pick up the prescription pad and prescribe exercise.  A new study in the April 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine, is a “milestone” because it proves that exercise prescriptions work, says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, a spokeswoman for the Exercise is Medicine campaign.  The new study comes from Spain, where researchers trained family physicians in how to deliver custom-made exercise prescriptions for inactive adults during a 15-minute doctor visit.  Six months later, the patients who had gotten the exercise prescriptions reported more physical activity than those who hadn’t received the exercise prescriptions.  Just giving vague advice to get some exercise didn’t cut it.  For the patients to benefit, they needed a specific exercise prescription written just for them.  Source:  When Doctors Prescribe Exercise, Patients Get Moving by Miranda Hill, WebMD Health News

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans provides science-based guidance to help Americans aged 6 and older improve their health through appropriate physical activity.  The primary audiences for the Physical Activity Guidelines are policymakers and health professionals.  These Guidelines are designed to provide information and guidance on the types and amounts of physical activity that provide substantial health benefits.  The main idea behind the Guidelines is that regular physical activity over months and years can produce long-term health benefits.   Realizing these benefits requires physical activity each week.  The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans describes the major research findings on the health benefits of physical activity:

  • Regular physical activity reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes.
  • Some physical activity is better than none.
  • For most health outcomes, additional benefits occur as the amount of physical
  • activity increases through higher intensity, greater frequency, and /or longer duration.
  • Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking.  Additional benefits occur with more physical activity.
  • Both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) physical activity are beneficial.
  • Health benefits occur for children and adolescents, young and middle-ages adults, older adults, and those in every studied racial and ethnic group.
  • The health benefits of physical activity occur for people with disabilities.
  • The benefits of physical activity far outweigh the possibility of adverse outcomes.

For more details on the Guidelines, go to www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines.
Source:  US Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

One-Mile Timed Walk for Women

1. What is measures: Aerobic fitness

2. Why is it important:  Higher aerobic fitness levels are associated with fewer health problems, including strokes, heart attacks, and breast and colon cancers.

3. What you need:  Stopwatch or watch with a second hand.

4. How to do it:  Find a place to walk an uninterrupted mile – a treadmill; four laps of a standard, quarter-mile school track; a flat, quiet road that you’ve clocked with your car’s odometer.  Walk as fast as you can, maintaining a steady pace.  Keep your shoulders back, your abdominal muscles slightly contracted, and your posture upright.  As soon as you finish, record your time to the nearest second.  Keep walking for a few minutes, but slow your pace to cool down.

Tip:  Keep your arms bent at 90-degree angles, close to your sides.

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Adopted from the Cooper Institute and used by the American Council on Exercise

NEW-LIFESTYLES unveils new website on July 30th, 2009

NEW-LIFESTYLES, Inc. is excited to unveil its new website on July 30th, 2009.  Our new website puts our highly acclaimed physical activity monitors and an array of physical activity information at your fingertips in a very user-friendly format.  This newsletter is but a glimpse of what you will see when you visit us at www.new-lifestyles.com. We hope that the magnificent photography of beautiful places from around the globe inspires you, your loved ones, and if you are a health professional, your clients to get outside and get moving.  Life is short; enjoy it and the great outdoors while you can.