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Swain a Primary Contributor to ACSM's New Recommendations on Exercise

Old Dominion University's David Swain is among a group of national experts in the area of exercise and medicine who recently published a position stand regarding recommendations for exercise for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the largest and most respected organization for making recommendations on how exercise is to be used to improve health and fitness. (In 2008, the ACSM worked with the Centers for Disease Control to produce the U.S. government guidelines for physical activity.) Swain, University Professor of exercise science in ODU's Department of Human Movement Sciences, was the primary contributor for the cardiorespiratory fitness (often referred to as "cardio" or "aerobic" exercise) component of the position stand. The overall position stand is titled "Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise." It is the key position stand of the ACSM, which the organization updates about once a decade. "The position stand drives recommendations that are made in various national publications, and strongly influences what is taught in exercise science curricula around the world," Swain said. The position stand will appear in the July issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Swain also currently serves as the senior editor on the upcoming seventh edition of "ACSM's Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription." This is an 800-plus-page book that provides explanatory text relative to the ACSM's recommendations. "An important change to previous recommendations," said Swain, "was the acknowledgment that vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise confers even greater health benefits than does moderate-intensity exercise. We have emphasized moderate intensity as the goal for many years, but now recommend that individuals already comfortable with moderate intensity progress to vigorous intensity for a portion of their exercise regimen in order to gain the most benefit. "Vigorous intensity doesn't just mean running - it could be walking up a steep treadmill, or doing fast bicycling or even fast walking for those who normally just do slow walking - something that causes a person to have a higher heart rate and heavier breathing for a few minutes. This causes a greater improvement in aerobic fitness, and greater reductions in several cardiovascular disease risk factors than does moderate-intensity exercise alone." As stated in the summary of the ACSM position stand, its purpose is "to provide guidance to professionals who counsel and prescribe individualized exercise to apparently healthy adults of all ages. These recommendations also may apply to adults with certain chronic diseases or disabilities, when appropriately evaluated and advised by a health professional. This document supersedes the 1998 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Position Stand, 'The Recommended Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory and Muscular Fitness, and Flexibility in Healthy Adults.' "The scientific evidence demonstrating the beneficial effects of exercise is indisputable, and the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks in most adults. A program of regular exercise that includes cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility, and neuromotor exercise training beyond activities of daily living to improve and maintain physical fitness and health is essential for most adults." Swain has been a member of the ODU faculty since 1993. His research focus is on cardiovascular and metabolic responses to exercise. He originated the concept of oxygen consumption reserve (VO2 reserve) for exercise prescription, which was incorporated by the ACSM in its 1998 position stand. He has published numerous scientific articles and three books, including "Exercise Prescription," 2nd edition. In addition to his research and scholarship, Swain teaches courses in exercise physiology, exercise prescription, exercise testing and wellness programming. He received the university's highest teaching award, designation as a University Professor, in 2006. He is a Fellow of the ACSM and holds its highest professional certification, program director for preventive and rehabilitative programs, and serves as an associate editor for its research journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. He is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

This article was posted on: July 1, 2011

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