Fitness Training Recommendations

Cardiorespiratory (CR) training, muscular strength and endurance and flexibility training, along with healthy eating are the best ways to get fit, (lose weight), stay fit (keep it off) and enjoy (improve quality of life) it. Here you will learn why CR, muscle strength and endurance, and flexibility training are important. You will also learn some good ways to not only only measure improvements in your CR fitness (e.g. reductions in blood pressure or decrease in body fat), but to gauge how well you are doing with your fitness.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend the following:

Why it's important
To improve heart, circulatory and pulmonary systems.

3-5 days per week

For promoting and maintaining health: 5 days of moderate intensity, or 3 days of vigorous intensity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity 4 to 5 days per week, along with regular daily activities of living.

Maximum Heart Rate (MHR or HRmax) = 64% - 94%
Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) = 40% - 85%

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) = 4-6 (on the 10-point scale)

Individuals who are healthy, yet deconditioned should start at the lower end of the MHR or HRR for the first 8-10 weeks.

How to measure intensity

Terms & Definitions:

Resting Heart Rate (RHR)- The number of times the heart beats in one minute
at rest. To determine RHR, an individual should take a 60-second pulse for three consecutive mornings while lying down, but after heart has settled down if awakened by an alarm clock. Add these numbers together and divide by three. The average RHR is 78-84bpm ( beats per minute) for women and 72-78bpm for men.

Age-predicted Maximal Heart Rate (age-predicted MHR)- The theoretical estimated maximum times the heart could beat per minute at a specific age. The formula to calculate this for women is 226- age and for men 220- age. there is a standard deviation of plus or minus 10-12 beats per minute. It recommended to never exercise at your MHR. T

Heart Rate Reserve (HRR)- The working heart rate range between resting and maximum heart rate. HRR is the result of subtracting RHR from MHR. (HRR = MHR - RHR).

Training Heart Rate Range (THHR)- The range within which an individual needs to work to achieve cardiorespiratory training. Also known as the "training heart rate zone," THHR indicates and upper limit and a lower limit to the training range. THHR reflects either a percentage of MHR or HRR, and is dependent upon an individual's current fitness capacity and state of training.
THHR as % of MHR is used in the simplified training heart rate formula.
THHR as % of HRR is used in the Karvonen formula.
Methods for Determining THHR:

Simplified Method (using MHR)- THHR = (226 - age) x desired lower and upper % MHR

Karvonen Method (using HRR)- THHR = (MHR - RHR) x % upper and lower % MHR + RHR

HRR more accurately predicts THHR because an individuals RHR is entered into the formula. HRR is based on the concept that RHR decreases as an individual becomes more fit because her/his heart becomes stronger and more efficient at submaximal workload. This formula helps "personalize" a THHR.

20 to 60 minutes of continuous or intermittent aerobic activity

For promoting and maintaining health all you need is 30 minutes of moderate intensity to 20 minutes of vigorous activity. But to get fit (lose weight, lower blood pressure and such) adhere to 20 - 60min. recommendation.

Any activity that is cardiorespiratory in nature (e.g. walking, running, hiking, jogging, cycling, swimming, stair climbing, inline skating, stepping, kickboxing and dancing)

Why it's important
It's important for overall health. Benefits include performing everyday activities, increased muscle mass, metabolism, stronger bones, and proper alignment.

Min. of 2 to 3 non-consecutive days per week for each major muscle group (arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, back, hips and legs).

Individuals who are new to strength training should begin with one set of separate exercises targeting each of the major muscle groups and add additional sets or exercises only after adaptation to the current program occurs.

Work the muscles to the point of volitional fatigue within 8 to 12 consecutive repetitions (reps) of an exercise (one set).

Volitional Fatigue- working the muscle to the point of exhaustion which changes muscle fibers in a way that leads to significant growth.

A range between 3 - 20 may also be appropriate. For:

  • Older adults 10 to 15 reps
  • Children 6 to 15 reps
  • High intensity.maximal training 3 to 5 reps
  • Group exercise class > 15 reps

20 to 60 minutes

The deconditioned individual may insert longer rest periods between exercises.

Any activity that creates overload to the musculoskeletal system in the form of external, gravitational or isometric resistance (e.g., progressive weight training, calissthenics. elatcis tubing, stabilization exercisses).

Why it's important
To improve joint mobility, decrease risk for injury, and enhance physical performance.

Min. of 2 to 3 days (ideally 5 days) per week for each major muscle and tendon group with special attention to those muscles with reduced range of motion.

To the end range of motion, to the point of tightness and to the edge of discomfort performing 1 to 4 reps of statically held stretches.

10 to 30 seconds hold of a static stretch; at least 20 seconds if you have time.

Activity that focuses on elongating muscles and moves joints safely through the full range of motion (e.g. yoga, stretch class, and cool down periods)
[Source: AFAA]