Active Voice: The Power of Fitness
By Francisco B. Ortega, Ph.D., and Michael Sjöström, M.D., Ph.D.
Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.
Francisco B. Ortega, Ph.D., is a Research Associate Fellow at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and at the University of Granada in Spain. His research focus includes the study of physical activity and fitness and their associations with physiological and psychological health outcomes. Michael Sjöström, M.D., Ph.D., is the head of the Unit for Preventive Nutrition at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. His research focus includes the improvement of current methodology to objectively assess physical activity and fitness at the population level, as well as to investigate applications of physical activity as a public health tool. This commentary presents Ortega’s and Sjöström’s views associated with the research article they and their colleagues published in the Oct. 2011 Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® (MSSE).
Physical fitness is a set of attributes related to a person’s capacity to perform physical activity. Among the different physical fitness components that have been studied in relation to health, the component most intensively studied is cardiorespiratory fitness. Since the classical studies conducted by professors Jerry Morris and Ralph Paffenbarger, there have been an enormous number of investigations, particularly those led by Steve Blair, using data from the Aerobic Center Longitudinal Study. This research has consistently shown that cardiorespiratory fitness is one of the most powerful predictors of all-cause and cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. The meta-analysis published by Kodama et al. in JAMA on cardiorespiratory fitness in relation to morbidity and mortality, and many other recent studies published in top medical journals, highlight the clinical relevance of cardiorespiratory fitness assessment. In this context, our group has coordinated the EU-funded ALPHA project (Assessing Levels of Physical Activity and fitness at population level). After two to three years of systematically reviewing the available evidence, developing tools and consulting with international experts, the ALPHA project led us to develop an evidence-based ALPHA fitness test battery, which is freely available (including videos) on the ALPHA website. More
Policy Corner: ACSM Convenes Think Tank to Chart Roadmap on Addressing Health Disparities
Leaders from across the health science community met in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 2 to focus on collective strategies for reducing racial and ethnic health disparities and improving health equity. The day-long meeting featured representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Indian Health Board, and more than a dozen other leading national health organizations. The output of these discussions will fuel development of a National Roadmap on Reducing Health Disparities Through Lifestyle Behavior Change under ACSM auspices over the coming weeks.
ACSM President Barbara Ainsworth, Ph.D., FACSM, chaired the distinguished panel of participants, kicking off the day of discussions by stressing the need for effective partnerships to improve health equity. “The challenge of improving health equity is quite simply too large for any of us to accomplish alone,” she said. “We have to find a way to focus our efforts on what really counts.” More
Headlines include recent stories in the media on sports medicine and exercise science topics and do not reflect ACSM statements, views or endorsements. Headlines are meant to inform members on what the public is reading and hearing about the field.
Your Heart: The Muscle That You Don't See
FOX News Latino Share
It’s human nature to work out the body parts that you see every day. In the end, who doesn’t want to look at the mirror and look in shape? But even when you see yourself as fit, you may be still at high risk of having cardiovascular issues.
No matter how many miles you run or how many pounds you lift when squatting, a thorough study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that in healthy men and women 20-90 years old, women below the median VO2 peak (peak oxygen uptake) were five times more likely to have a cluster of cardiovascular risk factors compared to those in the highest range. Men who fell below peak oxygen uptake levels were eight times more likely to have the same risk factors. More
In-Your-Face-Fitness: The Pull to Exercise Outdoors
Los Angeles Times Share
On a recent beautiful and sunny day, I strolled into my local gym to lift some weights. The gym is near Nose Hill Park, which is one of the largest municipal parks in North America. It has majestic views of the city of Calgary and the Rocky Mountains, which can be seen from endless miles of paths and trails.
As I made my way toward the room full of heavy things I intended to pick up and put back down, I spied the double line of high-tech treadmills. Most of them were occupied. More
The Once and Future Way to Run
The New York Times Share
When you’re stalking barefoot runners, camouflage helps. “Some of them get kind of prancy when they notice you filming,” Peter Larson says. “They put on this notion of what they think barefoot running should be. It looks weird.” Larson, an evolutionary biologist at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire who has been on the barefoot beat for two years now, is also a stickler about his timing. “You don’t want to catch them too early in a run, when they’re cold, or too late, when they’re tired.”
If everything comes together just right, you’ll be exactly where Larson was one Sunday morning in September: peeking out from behind a tree on Governors Island in New York Harbor, his digital video camera nearly invisible on an ankle-high tripod, as the Second Annual New York City Barefoot Run got under way about a quarter-mile up the road. Hundreds of runners — men and women, young and old, athletic and not so much so, natives from 11 different countries — came pattering down the asphalt straight toward his viewfinder. More