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Associations jointly endorse new guidelines for exercise intensity

Associations jointly endorse new guidelines for exercise intensity
October 5, 2010

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) and Fitness Australia (FA) have jointly endorsed a position statement that aims to bring consistency to fitness and exercise professionals when reporting exercise intensity.

Exercise researcher Professor Kevin Norton from the University of South Australia explains that "this position statement will act as a useful guidance tool for professionals to use and for gym goers and regular exercisers to understand. Understanding exercise intensity is important because of its relationship with physiological stresses placed on the body."

Previously, variation in terminology used by fitness and exercise professionals for exercise intensity made it difficult to track changes in activity patterns over time for clients and to compare research studies.

The goal of this statement was to define the different levels of exercise/physical activity intensities (sedentary, light, moderate, vigorous, high)with brief descriptors as well as scientific measures.

Professor Norton adds "with the national physical activity guidelines recommending 150 mins of moderate exercise per week to improve the health outcomes of an individual, these guidelines ensure a consistent understanding of this exercise intensity.

"These guidelines define moderate intensity as an aerobics activity what is able to be conducted whilst maintaining a conversation uninterrupted and can be sustained for about 30mins, for example walking, gentle swimming, and social tennis.

For those who exercise with heart rate monitors, moderate intensity is 55-70% of maximum heart rate.

Professor Norton concluded "this position statement addresses the question of standardisation of physical activity and exercise intensity terminology and makes recommendations that should assist those researching and prescribing activity as well as those clients receiving professional guidance."

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is a professional organisation which is committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners, who are in turn committed to best practice and client well-being. ESSA accredited exercise physiologists are experts in the area of exercise intervention for those who have chronic or completed conditions.

Fitness Australia is the national health and fitness industry association, working for a fitter, healthier Australia. The organisationâs mission is to raise standards within the industry and support, promote and represent the interests of the fitness industry.

Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) is Australia's peak body for sports medicine, sports science and sports injury prevention and acts as Australiaâs peak advisory body on all medical and health issues for active people.

The position statement on physical activity and exercise intensity terminology has been published in Sports Medicine Australia's Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

For more information visit www.sma.org.au

Lower image: Professor Kevin Norton, courtesy of ESSA.


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