Study Attempts To Determine The Amount Of Exercise Required To Stay Healthy

For years we have all known that exercise is beneficial for your health, but we have never quite known how much. Researchers in the United States and Australia are now attempting to rectify that state of affairs, and have published their findings so far in the Boston Medical Journal.

A study done by examining data from the last 35 years has shown that the more exercise you do, the better, right up until you hit the ceiling at 4000 MET minutes per week. After that, the benefits cease.

What are MET minutes? They are ‘high energy’ minutes, minutes when you burn more energy that you would by just watching TV. The exact value of MET is found by multiplying the condensation of the minutes (walking very slowly for one minute equals 2.3 minutes of TV, or 2.3 MET) by the amount of minutes that were condensed. The full list of MET values for various activities can be found on the CDCs website, but here is a shortened list.

Physical activity MET
Light intensity activities < 3>
sleeping 0.9
watching television 1.0
writing, desk work, typing 1.5
walking, 1.7 mph (2.7 km/h), level ground, strolling, very slow 2.3
walking, 2.5 mph (4 km/h) 2.9
Moderate intensity activities 3 to 6
bicycling, stationary, 50 watts, very light effort 3.0
walking 3.0 mph (4.8 km/h) 3.3
calisthenics, home exercise, light or moderate effort, general 3.5
walking 3.4 mph (5.5 km/h) 3.6
bicycling, <10> 4.0
bicycling, stationary, 100 watts, light effort 5.5
Vigorous intensity activities > 6
jogging, general 7.0
calisthenics (e.g. pushups, sit-ups, pullups, jumping jacks), heavy, vigorous effort 8.0
Running, jogging in place 8.0
rope jumping 10.0

So, walking at a little more than 2.5 miles an hour for 10 minutes would give you 30 MET minutes, do that twice a day for six days (your day off needs to be off) and you have 360 MET minutes, over half of your recommended exercise according to the World Health Organization, who suggest a minimum of 600 MET a week.

The researchers say that you should go for 3000.

So I would recommend that you start running for an hour a day (8x 60= 480, x6= 2,400). Or get a jump rope. Or wheel your own wheelchair, that’s more than 6 MET by itself.

Of course, this data was not compiled from the elderly, they may well get more MET minutes from slower activities. Still, it needs to be measured (1 MET= 150 kcal/minute) and tracked, they need the exercise.

And so their healthcare professionals must see to it that they get it.


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