In the field of cardiovascular medicine, new therapies are typically evaluated in large studies that include thousands of patients and are conducted over many years. A common end point in these studies usually involves determining whether a new drug or device improves survival and/or reduces hospitalizations. Along these same lines, we now know that regular exercise training as a treatment for patients who have coronary heart disease or heart failure is quite effective, improving survival and decreasing the risk for hospitalization by 10% to 20%. Although these end points are important, those of us working in the exercise arena also are aware that exercise provides many other benefits as well, such as improved mood, improvement in daily function and exercise tolerance, and lessening of symptoms, (e.g., less shortness of breath when walking up a flight of stairs).
The first of the three feature articles in this issue of the Journal speaks directly to the topic of using exercise in the management of patients with a known disease. Specifically, Kory Hill, Ph.D., leads off with the topic of, “Build Strength, Boost Mood, Reduce Symptoms: The Value of Resistance Training for Individuals with Common Lifestyle Diseases.” As the title implies, Dr. Hill describes how many of the common diseases associated with physical inactivity, (e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes, depression) benefit from a resistance training program.
The maladies associated with inactivity remind us that it is not only the inactivity that is unhealthy, but the act of being sedentary is troublesome as well. Brooke E. Starkoff, Ph.D., and Elizabeth K. Lenz, Ph.D., write about the importance of reducing sedentary time using short breaks of physical movement in their paper “Break It Up: Improving Health by Breaking Up Continuous Bouts of Sedentary Behavior.” Finally, this issue of the journal finishes on a topic that might be the most important aspect of exercise, specifically, exercise adherence. Despite all of the known benefits associated with exercise, it is the important task of helping our clients and patients adhere to exercise… not just for 6 months but for 6 years, that really represents the greatest challenge for exercise professionals. To address the topic, Gary A. Sforzo, Ph.D., FACSM; Margaret Moore, MBA; and Michael Scholtz, MA, provide a summary of proven communication and behavioral tools aimed at improving adherence in their article, “Delivering Change that Lasts: Health and Wellness Coaching Competencies for Exercise Professionals.”
The above three features, when viewed in conjunction with the ongoing department and column articles available in this issue make for some great reading. I’d also like to give a special shout out to the On the Floor column by Mary E. Sanders, Ph.D., FACSM and James A. Peterson, PhD, FACSM, in which they interview a true friend of the Journal and pioneer in the field, Lawrence A. Golding, Ph.D., FACSM, the Journal’s first editor-in-chief. As Mary and Jim point out, Dr. Golding’s contributions to the fitness profession are many and diverse and I wish to personally add my sincere thanks for his enormous contributions to the field. A special thanks to Mary and Jim as well, for taking the time to recognize Dr. Golding.