30-60 Minutes of Physical Activity is Actually Not Enough

Do you read Dr Sharma’s blog? He is Professor of Medicine & Chair in Obesity Research and Management at the University of Alberta. He is also the Medical Director of Alberta Health Services Edmonton Region’s interdisciplinary Weight Wise Program.

His blog is often controversial because he is not afraid to speak his mind. Last week he wrote about Why Leisure-Time Physical Activity is irrelevant. Even though the post may be seen as a bit confrontational, I enjoyed it and agree with many of his points.

Personally, I find it too easy to focus on fitting in 30-60 minutes of ‘planned activity’ into my day and forget about the other 23 hours. I hear my clients, family and friends justifying their sedentary lifestyle choices by saying they were at the gym that day or the day before.

Your body is genetically designed to keep active to ensure survival. Moving periodically isn’t enough, being predominantly sedentary creates wear and tear on our muscles, brain, mood, health and weight. Recently I was listening to a video conference by an exercise physiologist who recommended finding ways to decrease our sitting time during the day as a strategy to improve weight and health outcomes. He strongly felt finding ways to promote less sitting during the day would have significant positive health outcomes.

So my challenge to myself (and to anyone who is up for it) is structuring our day to get less sitting and more movement. I have started wearing my pedometer again not to see how high I can get my steps, but to see how I can change my baseline step level.

I would love to hear your thoughts ideas and strategies!