Some Real Surprises!
Dietary Guidelines is published by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) only once every five years. The publication contains dietary guidelines and recommendations about exercise.
The most recent publication departs totally from the former 30-minutes-of-activity-a-day and everything will be okay standard (which had been the mainstay of medical advice for 20 years) to now recommending much higher levels of intensity.
While the new guidelines don't endorse the Ready Set Go Fitness program, the publication clearly endorses the value of high-intensity exercise and comprehensive Ready Set Go Fitness types of training plans.
The new Dietary Guidelines publication is a great example of applying research findings and changing outdated standards to attack a public health problem head on.
Dietary guidelines typically become the standard of practice for medical and health professionals. The guidelines will be used as authoritative standards, which ultimately, get translated into street-level advice about how to improve health and reduce the risk for major chronic diseases.
- Engage in regular physical activity and reduce sedentary activities to promote health, psychological well-being, and a healthy body weight.
- To reduce the risk of chronic disease in adulthood: Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, above usual activity, at work or home on most days of the week.
- For most people, greater health benefits can be obtained by engaging in physical activity of more vigorous intensity or longer duration.
- To help manage body weight and prevent gradual, unhealthy body weight gain in adulthood: Engage in approximately 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week while not exceeding caloric intake requirements.
- To sustain weight loss in adulthood: Participate in at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity while not exceeding caloric intake requirements. Some people may need to consult with a healthcare provider before participating in this level of activity.
- Achieve physical fitness by including cardiovascular conditioning, stretching exercises for flexibility, and resistance exercises (weightlifting) or calisthenics (plyometrics) for muscle strength and endurance.
Government Done Right
This aggressive move by HHS and USDA should be applauded as a situation of "government done right." These large federal agencies, in essence, set up a fight between experiencing lifelong fitness versus living a life of obesity and being medically overweight.
The reason every battle against obesity and being overweight during the last 20 years sits in the lost column is because the former recommendations concerning exercise were based on namby-pamby standards of 30-minutes-of-daily-activity. This level of exercise intensity has been shown to be ineffective in improving fitness.
Researchers show in a new study that high-intensity exercise is superior to moderate-intensity exercise in improving fitness. The researchers report:
These data suggest that high-intensity training is more effective in improving cardiorespiratory fitness than moderate-intensity training of equal energy cost. These data also suggest that changes in coronary heart disease risk factors are influenced by exercise intensity.1
Increasing activity is the perfect place to start for someone sedentary. A great place to start, but this level of exercise does little except prepare the body for higher intensities that will produce results.
Now it's time to get-it-on; progressively increase exercise intensity (after getting medical clearance), and land some knockout blows to obesity and being overweight by putting on gloves that have some real punch. This is high-intensity exercise!
View The Study
- Changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and coronary heart disease risk factors following 24 weeks of moderate- or high-intensity exercise of equal energy cost.
Journal Of Applied Physiology 2005 Jan 7