Physical Activity Research Highlights from 2019 ACSM Annual Meeting

If you're looking for new health and fitness story ideas, here is a selection of research related to physical activity that will be presented at ACSM's Annual Meeting beginning May 28 in Orlando, Florida. Contact Lisa Ramage to learn more about these topics or interview these ACSM researchers.

Hot off the Press! New Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, second edition was released last November. This session will describe new guidelines for specific populations and highlight the science behind several topics for this edition, including sedentary behavior and bout length of physical activity, brain health and cognition and individuals with chronic conditions.

Stepping It Up for Health: New Findings from Device-Based Prospective Studies of Steps and Health. The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee scientific report found insufficient evidence to determine the relationship between steps per day and all-cause or cardiovascular disease mortality. Several prospective cohort studies and trials employ devices that measure steps per day by pedometer or accelerometer, although few studies on steps and chronic disease outcomes are available. This symposium will present new evidence on the number and intensity of steps associated with chronic disease outcomes from four large, prospective studies.

Lost in Translation: Promoting Physical Activity vs Cardiorespiratory Fitness? This moderated conversation between physicians and clinical exercise physiologists will address the importance of physical activity (PA) vs. cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) as a key health factor; approaches used to communicate to individual patients/clients; how approaches should differ depending on the audience; sources of confusion in understanding the importance of PA vs CRF; and future ways to promote the importance of PA and CRF for health.

From E-Bikes to Automated Vehicles: Opportunities and Challenges for Physical Activity. Technological advances in the transportation field (e.g. e-bikes, automated vehicles) are rapidly emerging. New technologies have the potential to positively impact public health by making active transportation more accessible, freeing up land for green space and activity-friendly infrastructure, and providing inclusive transportation options for disadvantaged populations. They also pose potential negative impacts like increased sedentary time spent in cars, greater urban sprawl and increased pedestrian and cyclist injuries. This session brings public health and transportation experts together to discuss.

Promoting Physical Activity Across the Lifespan: Linking Health Care and Communities. Unique opportunities and challenges exist in promoting physical activity for populations across the lifespan. Linking health care and community resources is an effective approach to improving clinical and behavioral outcomes. This tutorial will explore opportunities to leverage community-clinical linkages, describe relevant guidelines and highlight examples.

Exercise and Autism: Discovering the Possibilities. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the world’s fastest growing developmental disorder. ASD attributes such as social and communication deficits, sensory issues, inflexible adherence to routines and motor deficits appear to directly conflict with the demands of exercise. Yet, exercise provides immense physical, cognitive, social and behavioral benefits. This symposium will explore the attributes of ASD; review research; discuss interventions to address low physical activity and motor deficits; and provide an overview of the new Autism Exercise Specialist Certificate by ACSM and Exercise Connection.

Exercise and The Aging Heart: Prevention and Management of Heart Failure and Atrial Fibrillation. The currently heavy burden of heart failure (HF) and atrial fibrillation (AF) as major clinical manifestations of cardiovascular disease in later life will only increase with population aging. Although promoting physical activity is included in clinical CVD practice guidelines, little is known about its role in HF and even less is known about its role in HF subtypes. This symposium will present epidemiological and clinical perspectives on physical activity in the prevention and management of HF and AF in older adults.

Exercise is the Best Medicine for Back Pain. Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most commonly diagnosed, costly and disabling health conditions. Exercise plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of low back pain.

Alternative Types of Exercise to Prevent and Treat Hypertension: The Wave of the Future. Research on the antihypertensive effects of alternative types of exercise among adults with hypertension has produced encouraging, but inconsistent, results. Two recent meta-analyses on the antihypertensive effects of yoga and tai chi indicate both may be superior lifestyle therapies to aerobic exercise training, and thus, provide an attractive alternative to prevent and treat hypertension.

Physical Activity Can Help Seniors with Diabetic Foot. Peripheral neuropathy, such as diabetic foot, is a debilitating disease associated with peripheral nerve degeneration, pain, burning sensation, numbness and reduced quality of life. Evidence shows exercise is the most effective modality for relieving symptoms and improving functionality.

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About the American College of Sports Medicine

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to improve educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. More details can be found at