The following audit asks you to give your best estimate of how often you perform various activities. You will use the information you glean to propel yourself to a new level of personal fitness. Be extremely frank in your responses.
PART A: MODERATE ACTIVITIES
"Moderate" activities are defined as those that expend approximately 200 calories an hour. These calories can accrue and be cumulative. For example, if you do housework for 20 minutes, three times a week, you've accrued one hour of activity and have burned 200 calories.
There is some clinical evidence that moderate activities, performed regularly throughout your week, can be helpful in weight control and may be protective against heart disease. To assess your level of moderate activity, place a checkmark beside any of the following activities you participate in each week.
1. Climbing stairs rather than taking an escalator or elevator for an accumulated one hour a week.
2. Parking farther away from your destination in order to increase your walking for an accumulated one hour a week.
3. Walking for pleasure (not exercise) at least one hour a week.
4. Moderate on-the-job activities (e.g., stocking shelves, moving materials, lifting objects) for an accumulated one hour a week.
5. Moderate yard work (mowing the lawn without a rider mower, digging, etc.) for an accumulated one hour a week.
6. Moderate housework (scrubbing floors, sweeping floors, washing windows) for an accumulated one hour a week.
Scoring for Part A:
Give yourself one point for each activity you checked. If your score is three or less, then your moderate activity level is well below the norm. You're not burning enough energy in your daily activities to make any significant differences in your health. If your score is four or higher, this level of moderate activity is good and does count partially toward effective weight management.
PART B: VIGOROUS ACTIVITIES
"Vigorous" activities bum 350 calories or more an hour. When performed at least three hours a week, these activities promote fat loss and greatly reduce your risk of heart disease. To assess your level of vigorous activity, place a checkmark beside any of the following activities you perform each week.
1. Brisk walking, jogging, running, biking, or swimming at least two to three hours a week. (Aerobic exercise machines such as treadmills and stationary bicycles count here.)
2. Participating in an aerobic dance class at least two to three hours a week.
3. Participating in calisthenics or general exercise at least two to three hours a week.
4. Playing strenuous racquet sports (singles tennis, racquetball, handball, or squash) at least two to three hours a week.
5. Playing other strenuous sports (basketball, volleyball, backpacking, martial arts, skiing, etc.) at least two to three hours a week.
6. Lifting weights at least two to three hours a week.
Scoring for Part B:
Again, give yourself one point for each activity you marked. If your score here is zero, this means that either you're doing none of these activities or you're not performing them for a long enough duration to make a difference in your weight and your health. For each activity you checked, you're burning at least 700 to 1,000 additional calories a week, maybe more, depending on your level of effort. So a score of one indicates that you're definitely on the right track, expending enough exercise calories to spark metabolic changes that will enhance weight loss. A score of two or higher is even better and means you can lose about a half a pound of fat a week, provided you don't overindulge on too much food. Further, research tells us that people who burn up 2,000 calories a week can slash their risk of heart disease in half. If you scored three or higher, all the better. You're actively burning fat, at the rate of approximately one pound per week.
The bottom line here is that you should be performing at least three to four hours a week of moderate activity and at least two to three hours a week of vigorous activity. That is the minimum requirement. If you're doing anything less, then you're not active enough. You need to jack it up and discipline your activity level toward having a fitter, healthier body.