Archive for January, 2012

What is a normal amount of exercise?

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

I have been sitting on this post for a while in order to clarify my argument. I still do not feel like I have teased out all I want to say, but I wanted to publish something.

After reading the New York Times article “The Fat Trap” I started reading the blog Refuse to Regain. One author of Refuse to Regain wrote in a post “… the data shows that successful study maintainers are exercising a lot (on average, about 1 hour daily)”. To me that wording implies that exercising an hour a day is abnormal. I completely disagree.

Please note: I am assuming that the 1 hour daily average mentioned in Refuse to Regain is mostly at a moderate rate not an intense rate because the National Weight Control Registry says that the most frequently mentioned activity people added to their lives is walking. And thus, I can compare my activity level below to that statement.

I recorded the amount of exercise I did in detail from March to June in 2011 including all walking longer than 10 minutes, running and other higher impact aerobic activities, lifting and stretching. For thirteen weeks I did between 13 and 26 hours of exercise and one week I did 7 hours. I was training for a 24 hour race so that was the motivation to aim for that much exercise. But even now when I am not in training for anything specific I probably average more than 7 hours a week of activity, with about 5 hours of walking.  says “Adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level OR 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level.” Do we as a society really think that 2.5 hours a week is enough??

What I know is that a normal level of activity for me is much higher than 2.5 hours of exercise a week, and the doctor’s tests indicate that I am healthy.