In a world of misinformation, Fitness Pudding is here to separate fact from fallacy, and science from fiction.

Being Healthy Takes too much Exercise!

Being Healthy Takes too much Exercise!

Many of us have incorrect assumptions on how much physical activity it would take to improve or maintain our health. We assume that it will take hours on hours of grueling exercise, sweat, pain and spandex to improve our health. But, are these correct assumptions? 

The general recommendation1 to maintain health and reduce any risk of chronic disease (for healthy adults under age 65) is:

  1. Moderate intensity cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week (150 minutes per week), OR Vigorous intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week, AND
  2. 8-10 weight training exercises at 8-12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week (major muscle groups: legs, back, chest, shoulders, arms)

Moderate intensity activity is defined by the American College of Sports Medicine as "working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation". Doable, right?

Moderate intensity activities are also defined as those activities that fall within an intensity of 3 to 6 METs.

What is a MET?

A MET is the "Metabolic Equivalent of Task".  It is an easy way of saying how intense an activity is, or how much energy it costs to do it. Every activity takes energy to do it, and of course some require more energy than others. A MET of 1 means you are at rest, sitting and doing nothing (not even fidgeting). In Calories, 1 MET roughly translates to expending 1 Calorie per kilogram of body weight per hour.

For example, a 150 lbs person is 68kg (150lbs ÷ 2.2 = 68kg), and would expend 68 Calories per hour sitting quietly (68kg x 1 MET = 68 Calories per hour). Doing a 3 MET activity for an hour would translate to about 204 calories of energy used (68kg x 3 METs = 204 Calories per hour).

What are some Moderate Intensity Activities?


A great resource is the Compendium of Physical Activities found HERE. Some examples of moderate intensity activities are:


WalkingHousehold & OccupationLeisure Time and Sports
 Brisk Walk, 2.5mph (3 METs)
 Very Brisk Walk, 4.0mph (5 METs)  
 Cleaning, heavy (e.g. wash car) (3 METs)
 Sweeping, Vacuuming, Mopping (3-3.5 METs)  
 Gardening, general (4 METs)
 Carrying/Stacking Wood (5.5 METs) 
 Mowing Lawn with push mower (5.5 METs)

 Fishing (3.5 METs)
 Weight lifting, light to moderate effort (3.0-3.5 METs)
 Bicycling, < 10mph, to work, for pleasure (4.0 METs)  
 Golf, walking & pulling clubs (4.3 METs)
 Basketball, shooting around (4.5 METs)
 Dancing, ballroom, fast (4.5 METs)
 Playing with Children, vigorous (5.8 METs)
 Swimming, leisurely (6 METs)

As you can see from these examples, moderate intensity physical activity is not that much, and may be way less effort than you thought. Also, you may find a whole list of activities that you actually enjoy! 

Take a look at the list and find some activities you like, get 150 minutes per week of these activities, and improve your health at the same time.

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