I read an interesting article over at CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) the other day. Although this was a Canadian study, I have a feeling the results apply to most of North America and possibly most of Western Society.
About 15 per cent of adults and fewer than 10 per cent of teens meet physical activity guidelines for health benefits, with some not really realizing what it takes to make gains, according to Statistics Canada.
Those are some scary numbers! I knew that there was a health crisis facing majority of the population, but to be honest, I didn't realize that it was this bad.
Canadian physical activity guidelines, published in 2011, recommend those aged 12 to 17 get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity daily. For adults, the guidelines recommend that adults obtain 150 minutes of
physical activity of that intensity per week, accumulated in bouts of 10 or more minutes.
So, 150 minutes of vigorous activity every week. Break that down and that works out to be 30 minutes of good, solid exercise, 5 days a week (P90X3 or Focus T25 anyone?). So how hard is vigorous exercise exactly? Well:
So how do I figure that out? Well, a really quick and easy way of calculating your heart rate goes like this (this is a basic method but should work for most of the population):
220 - your age = Theoretical Heart Rate Maximum (HRM)
%Heart Rate (HR) x HRM = Range Guideline
So, I will use myself as an example:
220 - 29 = 191 (HRM)
0.64 x 191 = 122 beats per minute (bpm)
0.76 x 191 = 145 bpm
0.77 x 191 = 147 bpm
0.83 x 191 = 159 bpm
So, for my, moderate exercise is when my heart rate falls between 122 - 145 beats per minute, and vigorous exercise is when my heart rate falls between 147 - 159 beats per minute. You can get heart rate monitors for relatively cheap these days, but if you don't wish to buy one, then try a couple of these tips:
- Stop and check your own pulse for 15 seconds during or immediately following exercise. It only takes 15 seconds so don't worry about losing momentum during your workout or anything like that. Multiply the number of beats you count by 4 to get your beats per minute.
- A less accurate, but still relatively useful tool is the talking test. If you can carry on a conversation with someone, you are more than likely doing "light" exercise. If you can talk, but only between breaths, then you are more than likely in the "moderate" range. And if you are breathing too heavy to speak or can only mutter a few words here and there, then you are in the "vigorous" zone.
That's it! I know, a lot of the readers of my blog are probably already hitting these goals...you are, aren't you? That is why these numbers are so scary. According to this study, only 15% of adults and 10% of teens are getting enough vigorous exercise. And according to the study, there seems to be a measurable percentage of the population who thinks they're getting enough, but simply aren't! Not only that, but make sure you are always pushing yourself,
Brown raised another potential issue. Sometimes she sees people working out at the gym doing the same exercise on the same machine at the same level each time without taking into account that they're getting fitter and need to increase the intensity to get fitter.
Remember, the more you exercise, the more your body will improve. As you improve, your cardiovascular system becomes more efficient and can complete the same level of work as before with less effort or strain. This means that even if you went for a light 1 mile jog the other day and were breathing heavy, that doesn't mean you will always will. Instead, try increasing your distance a bit or increasing your pace.