It is no secret that physical activity is essential to leading a healthy lifestyle. However, determining the right amount of activity for yourself can be challenging. This article will cover various methods of measuring your activity level and provide tips on how to increase your daily movement.
Why is Knowing Your Activity Level Important?
Understanding your activity level is helpful in determining how much physical activity you need to maintain or improve your health. It also helps you avoid the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle, such as weight gain, increased risk of chronic diseases, and reduced mental health benefits.
How to Measure Your Activity Level
1. Step Counting
One of the easiest ways to determine your activity level is by tracking how many steps you take each day. You can use a pedometer or a smartphone app to count your steps. According to the American Heart Association, the average person should aim for at least 10,000 steps per day, but any increase in activity is beneficial.
2. Heart Rate Monitoring
Monitoring your heart rate during physical activity can provide insight into the intensity of your workouts. A heart rate monitor can track your heart rate and display it in real-time, giving you a more accurate picture of your activity level.
METs, or metabolic equivalents, are a measure of the energy expended during activity compared to resting. One MET is equivalent to the energy expended while sitting quietly. Activities are categorized into low (1.5-2.9 METs), moderate (3-5.9 METs), and vigorous (6+ METs) intensity levels. You can use an online MET calculator to estimate your daily METs and activity level.
How to Increase Your Activity Level
1. Walk More
Walking is an easy and accessible activity that can be done anywhere. Try to take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car farther away, or go for a walk during your lunch break.
2. Incorporate Strength Training
Strength training is important for maintaining muscle mass and preventing injury. You can use bodyweight exercises, resistance bands, or free weights to add strength training to your workout routine.
3. Make it Fun
Find an activity that you enjoy, such as dancing, hiking, or swimming. Make it a part of your routine to increase your activity level without feeling like you’re “working out.”
The Benefits of Being More Active
There are numerous benefits to increasing your activity level, including:
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
- Better mental health, including reduced anxiety and depression
- Increased muscle strength and endurance
- Improved sleep quality
Knowing your activity level is essential to leading a healthy lifestyle. By measuring your activity level and finding ways to increase your movement, you can improve your physical and mental health. Remember, any increase in activity is beneficial, so start small and work your way up to a more active lifestyle.
Here are some common questions people have about measuring their activity level:
- What is a sedentary lifestyle?
- What is the recommended amount of physical activity for adults?
- What are some low-impact activities that are easy on the joints?
- What are some simple ways to incorporate more activity into my day?
A sedentary lifestyle is one that involves little to no physical activity. It can lead to negative health consequences, such as weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and reduced mental health benefits.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week.
Swimming, cycling, yoga, and walking are all low-impact activities that are easy on the joints.
Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a walk during your lunch break, or doing a quick exercise routine during commercial breaks while watching TV.
American Heart Association. (2019). American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
Harvard Health Publishing. (2021). The importance of exercise when you have diabetes. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diabetes/the-importance-of-exercise-when-you-have-diabetes
Mayo Clinic. (2021). Metabolic equivalents (METs) in exercise and fitness. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/metabolic-equivalent/art-20046508