by Leigh Crews
It’s been a while since I attended a workshop that I wasn’t leading, let alone a three day conference. The 2014 American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Summit was a refreshing change of pace and because it was in Atlanta, it was just two hours from home. Bonus! I needed the continuing ed creds, so end of story. The ACSM summit has long been one of my favorite conferences. It’s much more than workouts. ACSM provides attendees with the latest research to back up the practical tips. It’s a different vibe from all other conferences and, when presenting there, I have always found the participants to be open, appreciative and fun to work with. I tried to uphold that tradition as a member of the audience this time around.
In case you missed the meeting, allow me to share my view from the Summit.
Top 5 Takeaways:
5Move More–We all know this, but it never hurts to hear it again (and again). Most of us are not getting enough exercise to see any health benefits, much less achieve fitness or lose excess weight. 150 minutes per week is the absolute minimum amount of time that you should engage in some sort of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Stop reading, lace up your running shoes and get moving.
4Sit Less–A recurring theme in the lectures I attended was that, not only should we be moving more, we should be sitting less. If your job requires sitting, take a break every hour or so to stand up, touch your toes, do a few down dogs, arm circles, twists or jumps. Just get up and move. Likewise, avoid long periods of TV induced immobility on the couch. How about investing in a stand up desk or doing your reading on a stationary bike or treadmill? Activity burns calories, lubricate joints, keeps your blood pumping and your brain alert.
3Eat Plants–While none of the scientists was willing to go so far as to speak the word “vegetarian”, the message was clear: we need seven to nine servings of fruits and veggies per day, along with a low fat protein of choice. Going hand in hand with what to eat is what “diet” to follow. Are you Paleo? Macrobiotic? A raw food fanatic? One lecture I attended on the current fad diets referenced this very informative article in US News that will give you the skinny on dieting. The highest and lowest ranking diets may surprise you!
2HIIT or Miss (out)–HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is the current “hot topic” and everyone is coming out with their own versions of HIIT training. HIIT is a safe and effective form of training that offers many benefits. It is a perfect addition to (notice that I did not say replacement of) your current exercise program, especially on those days where time is at a premium. Some HIIT workouts can be completed in as little as 4 minutes.
1Stop and smell the roses–There is more to attending a conference than sitting in lectures all day. Sure, I got caught up on what’s new and hot, but more than that, I connected with friends from near and far, laughing, hugging, sharing all the good news and even the not so good. I shopped the expo hall (and the nearby Lululemon–cue the angels singing), drank more coffee than normal, ate chocolate cake and foam rollered myself in happy (un)comfort.
In short, the ACSM’s 2014 Summit was a feast, not only for my brain, but for my soul, as well. Hope you have an opportunity, soon, to do the same.