ACSM Recommendations


crop_acsmrecommendationsWhat is the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)?

The ACSM provides the gold standard for physical activity and exercise guidelines. The ACSM has been in existence since 1954 and is comprised of health professionals, doctors, physiologists and others who conduct research on the effects of exercise and physical activity on the health of humans. All professionals in the field of health promotion rely on the ACSM for reliable health information related to exercise and physical activity.

The ACSM, in addition to several other public health agencies, recognizes the importance of physical activity to weight management and reduced risk of chronic disease (ACSM, 2009). The following are the ACSM’s recommendations for physical activity:

Cardiovascular Fitness

  • Participate in MODERATE intensity cardio 30 MINUTES per day at least 5 DAYS per week.
  • Moderate intensity activity is defined as working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still be able to carry on a conversation.
  • The ACSM recommends participating in 60-90 minutes of moderate intensity cardio per day if weight loss is your goal.


  • Participate in VIGOROUS intensity cardio 20 MINUTES per day at least 3 DAYS per week
  • Vigorous intensity activity is defined as working hard enough to see substantial increases in heart rate and breathing.

Resistance Training

  • Perform 8 to 10 resistance training exercises, 8 to 12 REPETITIONS EACH, 2 DAYS per week.
  • Use the 8 to 10 exercises to perform a full body workout that targets all of the major muscles.
  • Exercises can be performed in 1 to 5 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

For More Information

Please feel free to visit the ACSM’s website and click on General Public. The website also provides a lot of valuable information to help you meet the above guidelines.

Click here to read more about ACSM’s guidelines for older adults.

Next step

Learn about using Your Pedometer, and how it can help you set realistic goals.