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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Exercise: Are you getting enough?

Published August 23, 2011 3:09 PM by Barbara Mercer

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.

Yuck.

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!

2 comments

Then you'll need to move. People tend to think the whole country is like where they live.  It's not.  Do some reearsch and take a weekend and go to a sizeable town you've never been to before and check it out.  What city sounds exciting to you or has things you want to see?  Then go there. Broaden your horizons.  Good luck.

Maria Maria, hBxmjIAADIQDPu - IIicevcIOpse, cgxkABYzJBIAiBgE May 2, 2012 3:46 PM
MmmiPZLEIXJaKn PR

I have been off work for over 5 years now due to an illness. During this time, I have 16 surgeries and still have at least one more to go before I can return to work! I have had a few sessions of Physical Therapy without really any benefit!!!! I just sold my house and move into a Townhouse Complex and, thank goodness they have a full Fitness Center!! The sad thing though is that it has been sooo hot where I live, I have not had any motivation to go and get any hotter!! My goal for September is to MAKE myself get up and go to the free Fitness Center within our Complex and get busy! After my last surgery, that is coming up soon, I need to get busy and get back in shape and be able to go back to working 12 hour shifts!! I am so tired of being at home and not working that it is about to make me CRAZY!!

Treva Clark, PICU - RN August 31, 2011 12:24 AM
Dallas TX

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