The other day, I linked an article that went on vaguely about weight loss and exercise and…well, it seemed like a muddled mess to me. Normal for most science reporting. Luckily, SportsGeezer had a link to the LA Times which covered the same bit with more clarity. But I still have a problem.
Their headline is: Exercise: It’s an hour a day, people. Seriously.
But it’s not. Not all exercise is the same. They do realize this, don’t they? Not even every person is the same. They give some stats:
About a quarter of the women who managed to sustain a 10% weight loss exercised more, adhered to better eating habits and engaged more often by phone with the intervention team. For them, exercise amounted to an average of expending 1,835 calories a week, or 275 minutes per week.
(That’s about 40 minutes a day, by the way. Not an hour.) And concluded:
“This clarifies the amount of physical activity that should be targeted for achieving and sustaining this magnitude of weight loss, but also demonstrates the difficulty of sustaining this level of physical activity,”
And I call bullshit. I ran my own numbers. Anecdotal, yes. And I am a girl doing math, so feel free to check me.
I’ve been sustaining a 15 pound weight loss (from 135 to 120) which was about 10% of my weight. My FitDay records, which are approximations, say that over the past six months I’ve burned an average of 1890 calories a day. (I take in about 1850 calories.) I get exercise primarily from playing ultimate frisbee and running. I’ve spent 72 hours or 4320 minutes in the last six months (or 26 weeks) on these activities. My math says that I’ve spent 166.15 min/week doing these exercises. Or around 24 minutes a day. ‘Course, ultimate and running are pretty vigorous. Well, at least when most people do them. I’m pretty freakin’ slow.
This isn’t to say that getting *that* much exercise is easy. I’ve been having trouble getting that much in lately. I’m glad someone isn’t telling me that I need to double it. And that’s what bugs me about these sorts of articles. They generalize and can be pretty disheartening to someone who’s struggling to figure it all out. Sure, if you’re going to schlep on a treadmill at 4 mph, it’s going to take much longer to burn the calories you need to burn. Come out and play ultimate instead.
Edit: I spend most of my time at my computers. Or writing. Or reading. I am very still when I do these things, so I generally consider my lifestyle to be otherwise very sedentary. But I do walk places. Eric and I go for walks often. These things absolutely play into how many calories I burn, but I don’t account for them. They’re not exercise. They’re life.