Doctorate Housewife

What my degree in IPE didn't teach me about baking, DIY, fitness, and life…

Inactivity Kills

Ahhh, I think we’re in trouble! Apparently, inactivity kills! Recent articles rank inactivity up there with cigarette smoking for it’s wonderful ability to limit your lifespan.  Even the BBC (who normally refrain from unnecessary exaggeration) went with the headline “Inactivity Killing as Many as Smoking”. I remember high school health class (this is what having your dad as your health ed teacher will do to you, sad but true) – smoking takes at least 5 years off your life, eeek!

Scarier still, it seems we as a species are really good at lounging around. The Economist published a chart with inactivity across the world. (Inactivity is defined as failing to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week, 20 minutes of intense exercise 3 days a week, or some equivalent combination of the two.) The full report comes from Lancet, and there are some disturbing statistics. Check it out:

That’s not good news. Worse still, across the world inactivity increases as people age, even though the CDC recommends that you maintain or even increase physical activity as you get older, when it seems to matter more.

And notice, women consistently lag behind men. Come on girls!

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of the premature death thing, so I did a bit of research and according to the CDC:

Here’s what we should be doing

Adults (18-64) and seniors (65+) should get either:

  • 2 and a half hours  (150 minutes) of moderate aerobic activity per week
  • or 1 hour 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous aerobic activity,
  • or some combination of the two,

Plus 2 days of strength training where all major muscle groups are involved. And apparently, that’s just for starters.  For “even greater health benefits”, the CDC recommends 5 hours (300 minutes) of moderate aerobic activity or 2 and a half hours (150 minutes) of vigorous aerobic activity or some combination of the two, plus 2 days of strength training. That’s some serious activity!

Looking at it from a weekly goal perspective it kinda seemed insurmountable, but when I divided it by 7 and remembered that every ten minutes counts, I started to realise that this is very doable. 75 divided by 7 is just over 10 minutes – I can do that! But still one big question remains: what counts as moderate activity and what counts as vigorous activity? Helpfully the CDC provided some answers:

Moderate Intensity (50-70% of max heart rate or able to talk but not sing)

  • Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
  • Water aerobics
  • Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour
  • Tennis (doubles)
  • Ballroom dancing
  • General gardening

Vigorous Intensity (70-85% of max heart rate or able to utter a phrase, but not a sentence)

  • Race walking, jogging, or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Tennis (singles)
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
  • Jumping rope
  • Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
  • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

What doesn’t count? Light daily activities like cooking, shopping, or doing the laundry. Not that light activity isn’t important, but that’s another story.

With my July goal to lace up my sneakers everyday, I’m on my way to hitting the cardio goal, but as you know strength training has always been hard for me. I know it’s good for me and so I would try for awhile, but I found it hard to really be consistent. But my pushup goal, though perhaps unambitious is working! I hit 10 real (and 15 modified) pushups this week. I know it’s not much, but I’m in it for the long term. And in the long term small things add up.

I always stayed away from smoking, and I’m not going to let inactivity claim 5 years off my life either. So look out sneakers, I’m coming to find you!!


4 comments on “Inactivity Kills

  1. Pingback: My Healthy Living September Challenge « Doctorate Housewife

  2. Pingback: What’s your reason? Exercise makes you less greedy! « Doctorate Housewife

  3. Pingback: What’s your reason – Benefits of Afternoon Exercise for the Poor Sleeper « Doctorate Housewife

  4. Pingback: Best Books of 2012 « Doctorate Housewife

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This entry was posted on August 15, 2012 by in Fitness, Healthy Living, Uncategorized, What's your reason and tagged , , .

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