Advancing health through science, education and medicine

ACSM In The News

ACSM is fortunate to be the go-to source on sports medicine and exercise science for several national and international media outlets. You can find some of our most recent coverage below, or you can view archived articles.  

Physical Activity Levels Change with the Seasons

by User Not Found | Aug 01, 2011
Study shows women work out more in summer, less in winter

INDIANAPOLIS – Adverse weather and seasonal changes can be significant roadblocks on the path to a healthy lifestyle, suggests a study published in the February 2009 issue Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®, the official scientific journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).  According to the study, the link between physical activity and ideal environments may be particularly pronounced in older women.

Mark Newman, Ph.D., and his team monitored the physical activity levels of 508 post-menopausal Caucasian and black women in the “Women On the Move through Activity and Nutrition (WOMAN)” study during an 18-month period, using questionnaires and a pedometer. Participants were divided into two groups of physical activity counseling – lifestyle intervention and health education. Participants’ baseline step counts averaged over 7,000 per day during summer months, but fell nearly 2,000 steps during winter.

“We’ve long suspected that seasons influence physical activity levels,” Newman said. “It’s natural to want to stay indoors more during colder months, leading to fewer opportunities to be physically active, which in turn, may negatively affect health.”

The seasonal fluctuation in activity wasn’t limited to only climates with cold winters, however; women who lived in areas of the United States with extremely hot summers recorded lower activity levels during those time periods as well.

However, Newman’s study found that lifestyle intervention – including a physical activity component – was effective in keeping activity levels stable throughout all months of the year. Women in the lifestyle intervention group had little variation in month-to-month step counts, when compared to the health education group.

“Women aged 45 and 64 years– like those in our study – have some of the lowest reported activity levels of any population subgroup out there,” Newman said. “It’s ironic, because physical activity is critical at this age, to optimize functionality and health during the aging process.”

Health and fitness professionals – like personal trainers – can act as good lifestyle coaches for people struggling to increase or maintain their physical activity levels. ACSM’s ProFinder service provides a searchable tool for finding ACSM-certified health and fitness professionals in cities and states around the country. Visit www.acsm.org/certification.

-30-

NOTE: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® is the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, and is available from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins at 1-800-638-6423. For a complete copy of the research paper (Vol. 41, No. 2, pages 322-327) or to speak with a leading sports medicine expert on the topic, contact the Department of Communications and Public Information at 317-637-9200 ext. 127 or 133. Visit ACSM online at www.acsm.org.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Featured Publication

 Learn how to effectively lead group exercise with this ACSM resource. You’ll learn skills that can easily be adapted to different environments, including gyms, studios, recreational facilities, and clubs... 
 » Read More