Translating Scientific Information into Ready-to-Use Recommendations

What does it really MEAN?

What does it MEAN? Too often in our day-to-day interactions with clients and patients we inadvertently use terminology and lingo that has become common for us as we interact with colleagues; yet it is anything but clear for most people outside of our field. Consider these examples:

  • What is VO2max and how does it reflect aerobic fitness?

  • What is the difference between muscular endurance and muscular strength?

  • What is neuromotor exercise training and why is it important?

  • What does it mean to have progression within an exercise program?

Translating research and scientific information into ready-to-use guidance is a real challenge, and an inability to do so limits our effectiveness. We must strike a balance between providing clear, accurate information while not being so simplistic that the message is lost, or even worse, offends listeners.

ACSM provides great resources to help professionals develop an in-depth knowledge base. Many of these resources are full of scientific language and terms unfamiliar to the general public. To help translate research into practical, applicable information, ACSM published the Complete Guide to Fitness & Health. As editor of the original and 2nd edition, I can attest to the effort taken by experts in the field to ensure the “what does it mean” aspects of fitness and health were fully explained while remaining firmly grounded on the most current research and scientific statements. As a result, this resource can be used directly with clients/patients within a consultation session and as a wonderful at-home resource. 

ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health features:

  • information on preparticipation screening that reflects the most current guidelines from ACSM;
  • details on the components of a well-rounded exercise program (assessments, samples, exercise pics/descriptions); 
  • nutrition and physical activity recommendations for individuals throughout the lifespan; 
  • dietary and exercise considerations for various conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, pregnancy, weight management, and depression.   

The guide is a useful tool to encourage and motivate anyone interested in pursuing improved health and fitness. Here's a great example how: 

During a yearly physical exam, Carrie, a 55-year-old female, learned she has prediabetes. Her health care provider suggested Carrie increase her physical activity level. Currently, Carrie walks with a co-worker about 30 minutes/day a couple times a week during lunch. After discussing the benefits of physical activity with her health care provider, Carrie asked for assistance with developing a more comprehensive exercise program. Carrie is referred to David, an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist. David reviews Carrie’s preparticipation screening and further explains the value of a complete exercise program with aerobic and muscular fitness. David assists Carrie with completing a series of fitness assessments. After comparing her results with normative tables, David works with Carrie to develop an exercise program reflective of her current fitness levels and relevant to her goals. Sample programs, descriptions and photos along with specific information related to pre-diabetes and diabetes from ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health, 2nd edition are incorporated in Carrie’s “take-home” program - educating and encouraging Carrie in her pursuit of better health and fitness.

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Support for the Exercise is Medicine© Initiative is provided by:

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