Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 29th 2014 Contents No pain, no problem: A brisk walk is enough to qualify as moderate exercise for
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Working out doesn t have to be hard
work --- and moderate activity is much
better than none at all. The problem:
Many people overestimate moderate
exercise intensity, reports recent
research from the University of Man-
itoba, which can be a deterrent from
getting off the couch.
A study published by the Canadian
team last year found that 80 per cent
of inactive older adults couldn t tell
when a workout qualified as moderate
intensity activity. The researchers want-
ed to see if active young adults fared
In the new study, researchers recruit-
ed 51 regularly active adults from the
university s fitness facility. The experts
asked each person to run or walk on
a treadmill at an effort level that the
subjects felt was a moderate intensity.
The participants could adjust the tread-
mill s incline and speed until they found
the right pace, which they had to keep
steady for five minutes so that
researchers could get accurate heart
The heart rate data showed that 80
per cent of subjects were actually exer-
cising at a vigorous, not moderate,
"This is great news because people
are doing more than what s needed,"
study author Danielle Bouchard, PhD,
told Yahoo Health.
"And it s also great because we know
that vigorous intensity exercise has
more health-related benefits than work-
ing out at a moderate intensity."
People who avoid exercise because
it feels too difficult may be encouraged
by the study s findings, which suggest
that moderate activity might be easier
than many people think, Bouchard said.
The US Centres for Disease Control
and Prevention currently recommend
that adults clock at least 150 minutes
of moderate activity per week or 75
minutes of vigorous activity per week.
You can also do some combination of
both. The guidelines account for the
fact that vigorous activity confers addi-
tional health benefits, such as strength-
ening your heart, in less time.
In contrast to Bouchard s results,
other research has found that people
overestimate how hard they re working.
A study released earlier this year in
PLOS One asked people to walk or jog at three dif-
ferent effort levels: light, moderate, and vigorous.
On average, subjects didn t work hard enough to
meet heart rate recommendations for moderate and
vigorous exercise. But there was also a big difference
from person to person, with some running too hard
and others going too easy.
"I think people are all over the map is the short
of it," said exercise physiologist Tom Holland, author
of Swim, Bike, Run, Eat. "People are just confused
about what s moderate and what s hard. Weekend
warrior types tend to train in that gray area, so it s
not really easy, it s not really hard, and they could
get much more out of it."
A brisk walk is usually enough to raise your heart
rate into the moderate-activity zone. Add short bursts
of speed and play around with your pace to burn
more calories and make it more interesting, Holland
told Yahoo Health. "For basic heart health, walking
is just one of the easiest, simplest, most efficient
ways to get your cardiovascular exercise in," he added.
Moderate exercise not
as hard as you think
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and advice
How to choose the right workout
Using a heart rate monitor is the
most accurate way to know that
you're hitting the right pace. If you
have the gadget, stay within 50 to
70 per cent of your maximum heart
rate for moderate activity, and 70 to
80 per cent of your max for
To find your maximum heart rate,
head to a steep hill, Holland told
Yahoo Health. Warm up for ten
minutes, then run up the hill for 30
seconds and take your heart rate.
Walk slowly down the hill. Do that
three times, and use the highest
number you see as your max heart
rate. (Don't use the old 220 minus
your age formula, which is wildly
inaccurate for a majority of people.)
You can also think of moderate
activity as a six on a scale from one
to ten, where one is very easy and
ten is incredibly hard.
This method isn't entirely
accurate, Bouchard said, but it's your
best option if you don't own a heart
Her team is currently working on
new ways to help people measure
their workout intensity more easily
by using tools like pedometers and
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORKOUT INTENSITY
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