How Much Exercise Should You Aim For?
As a general rule, many health institutions suggest that we should do at least 150 minutes or 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week. This also translates to at least 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week.
But, to kickstart weight loss, you need to increase your energy expenditure by 1000 to 1200 calories per week. That’s roughly 150 calories per day. Of course, these numbers depend on several factors, like your initial weight, the intensity of the workout, and duration.
While it is quite easy to measure the minutes or calories, determining what “moderate exercise” stands for, is quite tricky.
Come to think of it, what may be moderate for others may already be strenuous for you. To decide on a good exercise for overweight and unfit individuals, you must also consider your capacity.
The question now is, if you are out of shape, what are your options for “moderate exercise”?
Consider Your METs (Metabolic Equivalents)
To answer the question about moderate exercises, let us talk about METs.
If you want to lose weight, you might think of exercise in terms of how much calories you can burn. Although it is not entirely wrong, thinking about calories alone may make you forget about important things such as your endurance and strength.
For exercise researchers, it is more important to think of physical activities in terms of METs. METs stand for “metabolic equivalents.” Simply put, a metabolic equivalent measures a person’s level of exertion based on the amount of oxygen they use for a particular activity.
To give you better insight, sitting down quietly is an activity rated with 1 MET. If an activity is rated at 2 MET, then you are using twice as much oxygen as sitting down. An activity rated at 3 MET uses thrice as much oxygen, and so forth.
Researchers who study exercises say that activities rated at 3.0 to 6.0 MET are considered moderate physical activities.
But they also emphasize that “people in their advanced years or who are unfit” may require more effort to perform these moderate workouts. Hence, they may want to “scale down” to activities rated at 2.0 to 4.0 METs.
Keeping this in mind, what exercise is best for the overweight and unfit?