Do You Overestimate Your Daily Exercise?
According to the May 8, 2013 edition of USA Today, about 79% of American adults don’t meet the minimum guidelines for physical activity of 2½ hours of moderate cardiovascular exercise a week. Furthermore, other studies show that people tend to be less active than statistics would suggest! Since the figures were compiled from self-assessments, the results should be interpreted with caution as people generally tend to overestimate how much physical activity they do.
Oddly enough, Quebec statistics indicate that in 2005, close to 40% of adults reached the recommended level, that is, 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. The number of people engaging in sedentary leisure pursuits would appear to have dropped from 35% to 25% between 1995 and 2005.
According to the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, the organization responsible for monitoring the body weight of the Quebec population, 50.5% of Quebecers were overweight in 2009-2010. The term “overweight” refers to those persons who are slightly overweight as well as the obese or persons with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more. BMI is calculated by dividing your weight by your height squared (kg/m2).
Yet again, since the data was compiled from self-assessed figures, height measurements tend to be overestimated while weight is generally underestimated. Regardless, the prevalence of obesity doubled between 1987 and 2010, meaning that statistics could be even more alarming!
How do you explain that the number of overweight persons has doubled while, at the same time, the number of persons who engage in physical activity has increased? Can poor eating habits alone counterbalance the data relating to regular physical activity? Probably not, since committing to regular exercise tends to promote the adoption of healthier eating habits.
It fascinates me to see that despite all the knowledge we have acquired on the benefits of physical activity, so few people fit exercise into their daily routine. Becoming physically active is THE easiest thing to do to improve your health in the short-, medium-, and long-term. It requires effort, of course, but once you get started, the benefits are felt quickly. You just have to take the first step!
To reach recommended levels for physical activity, you could:
- Brisk walking for 30 minutes 5 days/week and muscle toning exercises using hand weights on the other 2 days.
- A one hour bike ride 2 days/week, a 1-hour Zumba dance class 1 day/week and a 30-minute muscle training session 2 days/week.
- A TRX supervised group training session 1 day/week, a 1-hour group cycling class 2 days/week and a Power Yoga class 1 day/week.
How about you – do you think you overestimate the amount of exercise you do? How does your level of physical activity compare to that of your friends, colleagues, neighbours, etc? If you train on a regular basis, keep up the good work. The benefits for your health and well-being are priceless!
By Karine Larose