getting active

One Hour of Exercise a Day Is Not Enough to Beat Sedentary Lifestyle

The HealthGal Health Guide July 19, 2010
  • Here's the problem.  Experts like me tell you to exercise and we often offer all types of formulas and recommendations.  The latest recipe for health (and weight loss) is to workout aerobically, a minimum of an hour, most days of the week, and really focus on increasing your heart rate for ...

7 Comments
  • absent minded
    Sep. 14, 2013

    HealthGal, I think what you said is absolutely on target.  What little exercise we do today (even if we go workout at the gym for an hour a day) would probably rate as being an "invalid" 100 yrs ago.  Everything is automated.  Heck, we even walk and run and stair climb on machines that are doing part of the work for us.  And look at all...

    RHMLucky777

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    HealthGal, I think what you said is absolutely on target.  What little exercise we do today (even if we go workout at the gym for an hour a day) would probably rate as being an "invalid" 100 yrs ago.  Everything is automated.  Heck, we even walk and run and stair climb on machines that are doing part of the work for us.  And look at all that wasted electricity.

     

    From age 17 to age 37 I ran at least 5 miles every day.  It was always exhilirating.  I also lifted weights twice a week.  I also had anorexia and bulimia, btw.  My resting heartrate during this time was 42.  Then I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and the medication led to massive weight gain.  I fought back to a point where I could walk for 30 minutes, even with the extra weight.  But now, due to many years of joint stress from running and now stress from weight, my hips and knees can't take it. 

     

    I have read all the info on cortisol in relation to stress, how the FDA refuses to approve weight loss medications, and many other articles.  There's no easy way around it -- it takes all the willpower and determination (and maybe solitary confinement) a person can have once the weight is on, both to lose and to exercise.

     

    I got a dog in February and now walk with her an hour a day.  At a very leisurely pace, because I am older and she is 10 yrs old.  My weight stays the same.  My appetite is still raging due to necessary medications.  Life can play not-so-funny tricks on you.  When I was 36, I would never have thought I would have become overweight or wear anything larger than a size 5.  I thought I would always do aerobic exercise every day and enjoy it.  But I also thought I would have an amazing career, raise a family, and possibly be a poet laureate of the U.S.!!!  (Among many other achievements, of course.)

     

    Now, I have been receiving a disability income for 10 yrs and am so thankful for it.  I am thankful that I have a refrigerator full of good food.  I am thankful that I'm still breathing.  I'm thankful I have insurance.  So many blessings.  If I don't remain active a good part of the day, I am still having a basically good and ordinary life.  Problems just like everyone else, aging just like everyone else, and hopefully years to come.

    • The HealthGal
      Health Guide
      Sep. 15, 2013
      What a challenging situation- and yet your resilience to try and cope is admirable. I absolutely feel frustrated when I am faced with a study that suggests "we have to do more" especially when it comes to lifestyle habits like exercise. And I, as do most of my colleagues, unfortunately know that diet is probably 80% of the formula for a healthy weight, while...
      RHMLucky777
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      What a challenging situation- and yet your resilience to try and cope is admirable. I absolutely feel frustrated when I am faced with a study that suggests "we have to do more" especially when it comes to lifestyle habits like exercise. And I, as do most of my colleagues, unfortunately know that diet is probably 80% of the formula for a healthy weight, while exercise is the other 20%- not factoring some genetics. So that makes meaningful exercise - aerobic and weight training- even more important in the quest for weight loss and weight control. I notice that a lot of individuals "do their hour" of exercise and then are often relegated to sitting at a job the rest of the day. So the study and my comments were merely meant to raise the issue of whether or not an hoursof exercise- which offers a host of health benefits, can combat specifically weight gain- in the face of how most people eat and behaved" the rest of the day." And I have found that many people justify more calories after an hour of exercise, despite their real calorie burn during that effort, and despite the fact that they are not moving a whole lot, the rest of the day. But to your points- yes - any exercise is a GOOD effort- and yes if someone can get in that hour a day it is a superior habit- I just don't want its " real impact" to be over- stated because that's what sometimes gets us into trouble when it comes to justifying what we then choose to eat. Thanks for the personal insights and please keep reading and commenting!
    • absent minded
      Sep. 16, 2013

      I recall how Kenneth Cooper of the Aerobics Institute was such an exercise enthusiast as a young man.  How he mapped out all the heart rate charts and body fat goals and so on.  But when he grew older, and his joints and flexability and energy and metabolism began to require more attention, he eased back on what he had thought was absolutely mandatory...

      RHMLucky777

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      I recall how Kenneth Cooper of the Aerobics Institute was such an exercise enthusiast as a young man.  How he mapped out all the heart rate charts and body fat goals and so on.  But when he grew older, and his joints and flexability and energy and metabolism began to require more attention, he eased back on what he had thought was absolutely mandatory as a younger man.  I found I had to make a decision at some point not to push myself to try to achieve all that I could at a younger age.  Not the weight, not the musculature, not the fierce aerobic dance classes -- none of that "excellence" of fitness could be sustained as I aged.  Yes, there are people who are way up there in years who run ultramarathons and compete as weight-lifters in their age category.  Good for them!  I consider them the Leonardo da Vinci's and Godet's and Beethoven's of the physical body, however. 

       

      Yes, we need to do the best with what we have, remain as strong and active as we can, eat as health-consciously as we can, and keep our brains active.  I'm all for it.  I don't think I should accept any "limitations" of the spirit, ever.  But the limitations of my body are growing self-evident as I age.

    • The HealthGal
      Health Guide
      Sep. 17, 2013

      Kenneth Cooper was indeed a maverick.   I myself have had to adjust my workout formula over the years to address ankle and knee issues, abandoning running- which I loved- and tuning to the elliptical and stationary bike and hill walking instead.  The point is to indeed evolve and modify workouts- but not to abandon them, which so many do.  I...

      RHMLucky777

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      Kenneth Cooper was indeed a maverick.   I myself have had to adjust my workout formula over the years to address ankle and knee issues, abandoning running- which I loved- and tuning to the elliptical and stationary bike and hill walking instead.  The point is to indeed evolve and modify workouts- but not to abandon them, which so many do.  I have also modified my diet- because despite a vigorous weight training program, I have still lost some muscle mass, and know that my metabolic rate has slowed just a bit.  So I have given up some servings of grain carbs, and added some additional ounces of protein to compensate.

       

      Your insights are appreciated.

  • Anonymous
    Preston
    Aug. 13, 2012

    I have to say.  While I agree with what your overall sentiment is.  I think what you're communicating or what you're ultimately going to end up doing is reducing peoples willingness to committ to even an hour a day.  An hour a day is better than zero hours a day?  Can we agree on that?  What positive impact does this article have?  ...

    RHMLucky777

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    I have to say.  While I agree with what your overall sentiment is.  I think what you're communicating or what you're ultimately going to end up doing is reducing peoples willingness to committ to even an hour a day.  An hour a day is better than zero hours a day?  Can we agree on that?  What positive impact does this article have?  

    • The HealthGal
      Health Guide
      Aug. 13, 2012

      Hi Preston-

       

      Yes ANYTHINg is better than nothing and we do know that 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week imparts health benefits - if not weight loss.

       

      But I am also a health professional and the expectation of most people who commit to exercise is that the payoff "is huge."  It is if you are also generally active and moving about...

      RHMLucky777

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      Hi Preston-

       

      Yes ANYTHINg is better than nothing and we do know that 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week imparts health benefits - if not weight loss.

       

      But I am also a health professional and the expectation of most people who commit to exercise is that the payoff "is huge."  It is if you are also generally active and moving about much of the day and you then add in that commitment of pulse-raising exercise.  But the medical community realizes that if you exercise for an hour in the am and then sit for most of 8 hours for a sedentary job and then go home and watch TV and eat - that one hour of exercise cannot offset all those "other hours."  But for sure it amounts to helping offset excess calories eaten to some degree, and helping your heart as well as providing other health benefits.

       

      The point of the column was to get people aware that our lifestyles, as a whole, have become so sedentary, that even those of us who commit to that hour of aerobic and/or weight training fitness experiences - need to find ways to also move during the day - a quick 10 minute lunch walk, an after dinner walk, a bike ride for 30 minutes at the the day, walking stairs  - the body needs movement despite the committed effort of "an hour a day." (which is stellar)

       

      And I confess, then there's the "effort" you make during that hour.  Many exercisers over-estimate calories burned or intensity of effort.  I can tell from your tone, you don't want to hear that either!!  But yes, any effort is a good start - we just need people "building on that small effort" and facing the science truths that may be hard to swallow.