Exercise: Are you getting enough?
I've been thinking a lot lately about time and how strange it can be. There's never enough when I'm working on a project, it goes much too fast when I'm enjoying the company of friends, and it can unfold in a wonderfully slow way over Sunday morning coffee with my husband.
Most days, I feel like I'm racing against self-imposed standards -- I've read that I am supposed to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night; take about 10 minutes in the shower; meditate for up to 15 minutes each day; be able to put on my makeup in 5 minutes flat; spend time with friends, family and spouse; take time for myself; avoid too much tv time; not spend too much time online; and, for heaven's sake, stop spending so much time on Facebook.
While checking e-mail during a free moment, I learned there's an additional time constraint I should be paying more attention to -- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
I shrink back with a squished expression of distaste when given a time prescription, limit or mandate - well, especially when it's for something I'm not naturally inclined to do.
But wait a minute ... if stretched over 5 days (gotta take a break, right?), that's a very reasonable 30 minutes a day. I think I'm already exceeding this goal, given I live with two large dogs that demand a lot of walking. But am I achieving the prescribed intensity?
Lucky for me and you, a researcher in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University has an easy way to figure it out.
Simon Marshall, PhD, and colleagues discovered that, for a healthy person, about 100 steps a minute works out to the optimal intensity.
And how do you know you're reaching 100 steps a minute? Well, you can use a pedometer to count your steps for a minute and see how you're doing. There's also a measure that doesn't require any equipment: if, while exercising, you can talk in short clips, but can't belt out a tune, you've reached moderate intensity.
So there you have it. If you catch me singing to my dog, tell me to step it up a notch!