Tai Chi Added to Exercise Guidelines

Practice Tai Chi 2 or 3 days a week and engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise and you’ll be getting as much exercise as you need.

That’s the new recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) on how much exercise is actually enough for an adult.

For the first time, the ACSM has added in neuromotor exercises, sometimes called functional fitness, to its guidelines.

The guidelines state:

“Multifaceted physical activities such as tai ji (tai chi), qigong, and yoga involve varying combinations of neuromotor exercise, resistance exercise, and flexibility exercise.

Neuromotor exercise training is beneficial as part of a comprehensive exercise program for older persons, especially to improve balance, agility, muscle strength, and reduce the risk of falls.

They provide proprioceptive exercise training and multifaceted activities to improve physical function and prevent falls in older adults.”

Based on the results of clinical studies, the new guidelines suggest 20-30 minutes per day of neuromotor training for 2 to 3 days per week for all adults.

In addition to outlining basic recommendations and their scientific reasoning, the ACSM position stand also clarifies these new points:

* Pedometers, step-counting devices used to measure physical activity, are not an accurate measure of exercise quality and should not be used as the sole measure of physical activity.

Interpretation: Step counting is fine, but adding up your total minutes of aerobic activity is better.

* Though exercise protects against heart disease, it is still possible for active adults to develop heart problems.

Interpretation: Everyone should know the warning signs of heart disease, and if you recognize them, see your doctor.

* Sedentary behavior – sitting for long periods of time – is distinct from physical activity and has been shown to be a health risk in itself.

Interpretation: Don’t be a couch potato, which would be hard to do if you follow the full exercise recommendations.

The full recommendations include:

— 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (5 days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (3 days per week)

— Resistance exercise to train each major muscle group 2 or 3 days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment

— Flexibility exercises at least 2 or 3 days each week to improve range of motion.

— Tai Chi, qigong, or yoga for 2 or 3 days each week for functional fitness.

Leave a Reply