The 2nd Learn @ Lunch was a success thanks to Cal Poly Kinesiology professor, Dr. Cory Greever. He discussed the importance of meeting the current physical activity guidelines and recommendations to improve physical wellness. Dr. Greever is originally from the east coast, where he obtained a B.S. in Health, Physical Education & Exercise Science at VCU and a M.S. in Exercise Physiology & Human Performance from JMU. He then completed a Ph.D. in Physical Activity & Health from UMass Amherst. He moved to California last year to start his teaching career with Cal Poly’s Kinesiology department and is currently researching the physiological links between exercise, sleep and cognitive function. Additionally, Dr. Greever is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and conducts work aimed at improving athletic performance. He is also the director of Poly Fit, a kinesiology program that provides affordable health assessments to campus and community members. For more information on Poly Fit or to sign up for an assessment, visit: http://kinesiology.calpoly.edu/content/programs/polyfit.
Most of the general population is aware that exercise improves physical wellness, yet only about 20% of the population actually meets the physical activity (PA) recommendations. The prevalence of obesity and chronic disease in America is an alarming public health issue that will continue to rise due to physical inactivity, sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet. Individuals can prevent obesity and chronic diseases through lifestyle and behavioral modifications. Dr. Greever discussed the lifestyle modification of meeting current PA guidelines to improve health and prevent chronic disease. To successfully adapt a healthy behavior it is important to understand what the behavior is, including the benefits and barriers to performing the behavior.
Dr. Greever asked the audience, “Are PA and exercise the same thing?” The audience agreed the terms were different, but had a hard time coming up with an exact definition for each. PA is any movement that requires energy expenditure above resting values, whereas exercise is defined as any planned/structured PA with the intention of improving one’s physical fitness or health. PA encompasses all the daily activities we complete throughout the day, such as walking to your car or doing household chores. If you are not sleeping or sitting, you are most likely participating in PA. An important distinction is all exercise is considered PA, but not all PA is considered exercise. This makes sense, but the next question gets a little more complex. How much PA and exercise does an adult need to see health benefits or prevent chronic disease?
The 1995 dietary guidelines advised adults to spend less time sitting and engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate PA on most or all days. The guidelines are pretty vague for the general population to fully understand and fulfill, which is why Dr. Greever chose to expand on the topic. Baseline PA includes light-intensity activities of daily living. Health-enhancing PA is moderate to high intensity activities that produce greater health benefits when added to baseline activity. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans established more descriptive guidelines related to health enhancing PA for general and specific populations. The prevalence of chronic disease in America is a huge public health issue that can be easily reduced through decreasing sedentary time and increasing regular PA. CVD is the number one cause of death in America and following these guidelines can greatly reduce an individual’s risk of CVD and most chronic diseases. The recommendations are based on the preventative effects of PA by improving health related cardiovascular and muscular fitness, rather than performance related fitness. You don’t have to be a star athlete to see the health related benefits of PA.
The aerobic guidelines for adults recommends participating in endurance related PA involving large muscle groups in a rhythmic manner for a sustained period of time at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity for at least 3 days a week for a total of 150 minutes per week. It is important to exercise throughout the week, rather than exercising for 3 consecutive days and resting for the rest of the week. These are just the minimum recommendations, increasing your aerobic activity more than 150 minutes a week is associated with more health benefits as well as improves weight loss and maintenance. Exercising more than 300 minutes per week puts one in the high level of PA, but there is currently no research showing that exercising this amount is necessary and is likely to cause overtraining and injury.
The muscular fitness guidelines recommend participating in resistance training by overloading muscles at least 2 nonconsecutive days per week. The intensity depends on individual fitness goal and training status. The frequency and amount of weight, sets, reps and rest time per exercise are different for increasing muscular strength, endurance, power or hypertrophy (increase muscles size), as well as if you want to improve body composition, functional ability or performance. Resistance training at moderate-to-vigorous intensity for 1-3 sets with 8-12 reps to fatigue per exercise is recommended to improve strength. A resistance-training program should include 8-12 exercises involving all major muscle groups (back, shoulders, arms, legs, hips, chest, abdomen). As the body adapts to exercise, alter amount of weight, reps, sets, rests and days per week to increase intensity and further adaptions.
Adhering to these guidelines might seem hard at first, but remember any PA is better than none. Novice adults starting to exercise should gradually progress to meet guidelines. A combination of moderate and vigorous intensity throughout the week provides the same health benefits, while adding variety to enhance enjoyment and decrease total time of exercise per week. Regular PA and exercise should be adopted into your lifestyle and maintained for the rest of your life. For more information about exercising to improve your health, visit: https://health.gov/paguidelines/.
What did you do to challenge yourself today?
Share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat and include the #myCPWELL!