Exercise isn’t enough …

What!? How can that be?

What about the mantra of this blog eat less; move more; live longer that I have repeated dozens of times? Doesn’t that cover it all?

Apparently not.


You need to put these ideas together it seems. Yes, you have to get that exercise in on a regular basis. The government suggests:

At least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise three to five times a week
Getting five minutes of movement every hour
Walking 10,000 steps a day

BUT, think of that exercise in the context of your daily life. How many hours a day do you spend just sitting? Many of us burn up the majority of our days seated in front of a computer screen. Then we have a seated commute home where we vedge out sitting in front of the TV all evening.

Commenting on those government suggested minimums, Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease said, “But that small period of exercise can’t compensate for a lack of activity all day long. We need both exercise and activity.”

Blaha observes that we need to pay attention to our activity as well as our exercise. “Exercise and activity are two different things. Exercise describes an intentional effort to raise your heart rate, strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility. It’s structured time you set aside for focusing on your physical health. Activity, on the other hand, describes how much you move throughout the course of the day.

“For example, a sedentary person spends much of the day sitting. An active person does things such as walking, climbing stairs, standing and moving around most of the day — this can be because you have a physically demanding job or are running after your children, or because you make an effort to walk during meetings or use a standing desk.”

I have written a page on the dangers of prolonged sitting. Please check it out. Also, from personal experience, I can relate to you that having an Apple Watch is an enormous help. Not only does it track my daily activity, it reminds me to stand after I have been sitting for an extended period. Check out my Page – How my Apple Watch promotes my good health for more details.


This is my Apple Watch face. What appear to be rings begin as dots and grow as I move through the day. They show me how many calories I have burned (top red), how many minutes I exercised (middle yellow) and how many times I have stood up in the past 12 hours. If I touch the figure of the runner in the upper right corner, I get the screen activated to choose my exercise for the watch to track. Upper left shows my heart rate. If I touch that, a heart rate monitor comes on the screen.  Bottom, current weather where I am.

Dr Blaha concludes, “Ideally, you should both exercise and have a high daily activity level. Research indicates that doing one or the other doesn’t provide the same level of heart-protecting benefits as doing both.”

Here is a link to a very. useful guide from Johns Hopkins – Heart Smart – A guide to heart care at every age.


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Filed under cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits

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