The FITT principle provides an exercise prescription framework for healthy individuals and other individuals with various health conditions such as fibromyalgia, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and more. The FITT principle can be applied to aerobic, resistance, flexibility, and neuromuscular types of training.
- F = Frequency
- I = Intensity
- T = Time/duration
- T = Type/mode
Based on an individual’s fitness levels, the FITT principle can be customized to match the individual’s needs.
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition characterized by low bone mass and density, which are risk factors for fractures (hip, spine, and wrist). Also, osteoporosis increases the prevalence of falls which result in a substantially reduced quality of life.
About 75-80% of bone health is predetermined by genetic factors (e.g., sex and family history). However, the rest of the 20-25% are factors that we can monitor, control, and intervene. Diet and physical activity – these elements, if appropriately addressed, can have a strong impact on bone health.
Exercise training was shown to improve bone health, and it is beneficial at any age. The following are a few interesting points regarding the relationship between physical activity and bone density in women ages 20-40 years:
- Non-active sedentary young women shown 15% less bone mass compared to active women at the same age.
- 2 hours of jogging per week = increase bone mass by 5% compared to non-active women.
- 4 hours aerobic working – produce another 10 % increase compared to non-active peers.
- Increasing duration and intensity of aerobic exercise over 10 hours per week was not found to elicit any further benefits (bone strength).
- To achieve an extra 5% increase, an individual must be involved in additional resistance training programs (minimum of 2 hours per week).
FITT Recommendations for Individuals with osteoporosis
Aerobic Exercise Recommendations:
- Type: Walking, cycling, jogging (Weight-bearing activities are preferred.)
- Frequency: 4-5 days per week
- Intensity: Moderate effort
- Duration: Start with 20 minutes ——-> progress to 30 minutes
Resistance Training Recommendations:
- Type: Free weights, machines, adequate instructions required
- Frequency: Start with 1-2 days per week ———> progress to 2-3 days per week
- Intensity: Moderate- high
- Duration: Start with a set of 8-12 repetitions ——–> progress to 2 sets
Flexibility Training Recommendations:
- Type: Static stretches
- Frequency: 5-7 days per week
- Intensity: Stretch to point of slight discomfort
- Duration: 10- 30 seconds per stretch