Why Exercise?

By Spencer Schreckengaust
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Runner women are running exercise sporty  morning sunlight

Why Exercise and “How much should you exercise?”

The new year of 2020 has been upon us for more than a  month…So, how did we keep our New Year’s Eve resolutions for a proper diet and exercising more to be healthy? Also, how much should someone exercise to obtain the benefits from putting in  the time, energy and sweat while running on that treadmill?

Besides the desire to maintain the proper weight for oneself, there are so many more physical reasons to develop a healthy exercise program such as:

  • Decreasing blood pressure in order to control of hypertension
  • Improve cholesterol profile (tricglycerides, HDL, LDL)
  • Increase cardiac function
  • Improve blood sugar levels and insulin production
  • Improved sleep
  • Prevention of chronic diseases like Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Hypertension, Osteoporosis, and Cancer

The benefits do not stop at the physical realm but will extend into other areas such as:

  • Decreased depression
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Other mental health benefits

Last but not least, various studies propose that exercise reduces the risk of premature death by 20-50%!

These studies on exercise state that on a 0 to 10 scale of exercise intensity (“0” would be the least while a “10” would be the most intense rating), moderate physical activity would be between a 5 and 6 while vigorous would be a 7 to 8 or possibly more.

The new guidelines suggest  burning between 1000-2000 kcal during exercise in two ways:

1.  150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise (~3.0 – 6.0 METS) or

2. 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (~6.0 METS and beyond)

But what is a “MET”? No, not the MET in New York City… MET refers to the “Metabolic Equivalent of Task” and is commonly used in scientific reports and studies concerning exercise. It is a measurement of energy expenditure for various physical activities. Even more precisely, one MET is a resting person’s resting metabolic rate (or ~3.5 mL of oxygen consumed per kg of bodyweight per min). Here is a table below listed for various activities:

Why does this matter? The formula illustrated below can be used to  calculate the calories burned during a specific physical activity so you can more precisely  measure your exercise regimen to see if you do indeed perform the proper amount of exercise at the right intensity to reap the rewards listed above.

So here are your basic recommendations for an effective exercise regimen:

  • Choose an activity that you will enjoy!
  • Tailor to your individual needs
  • Base your exercise program on goals
  • Perform exercise based upon ability

However, before you begin an exercise program, it is always a good idea to  check with your physician or health care  to rule out precautions or limitations.

Bibliography

  1. Ashdown-Franks G et al. Exercise as Medicine for Mental and Substance use disorders: a meta review of the benefits of neuropsychiatric and cognitive outcomes. Sports Med 2020 Jan; 50 (1): 151 – 170.
  2. Darren ER Warburton. Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. CMAJ. 2006 Mar 14; 174 (6): 801 – 9.
  3. Ekelund U, Steene-Johannessen J, Brown WJ. Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonized meta-analysis of data from more than 1 million men and women. Lancet. 2016;388:1302-1310. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30370-1.
  4. Gallaza J. Benefits of Exercise in the older population. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2017 Nov; 28 (4): 659 – 669.
  5. Meyers J et al. Physical Activity, cardiorespiratory fitness and the metabolic syndrome. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 19; 11 (7).
  6. Paffenbeyer RS Jr et al. The influence of physical activity on the incidence of site-specific cancers in college alumni. Adv Exp Med Biol 1992; 322:7-15.
  7. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/6434/5-things-to-know-about-metabolic-equivalents
  8. https://whish.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/2018-Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf