23.5 hours: single best thing we can do for our health

I was going to put this in the weight loss thread, but I think this deserves a highlight of its own, especially since it’s not just for people who want to lose weight.

The single best thing we can do for our health

(spoiler alert: it’s exercise, even walking)

As the doctor narrating the video said, it ameliorates so many different kinds of health problems – he lists knee arthritis, progression through dementia/alzheimer’s, diabetes, hip fractures in post-menopausal women, anxiety and depression, fatigue – and raises quality of life and lowers your risk of death.

One longitudinal study (of 50,000 people) looked at the number of deaths that would have been avoided if certain risk factors had not been present. It found that more significant than smoking, obesity, diabetes, etc. was the risk factor of low fitness, ie., low fitness was the strongest predictor of death. Even if you’re obese, if you’re obese and exercise, you reduce the impact of the negative health consequences of obesity.

The amount to aim for (and exceed if possible) is 150 minutes a week. That breaks out in one way to 30 minutes, five days a week. I had been walking 30 minutes 3 times a week, and I’ve started increasing each walk to at least 50 minutes.

I found this video really motivating, and I hope you do too. :slight_smile:

I’ve seen this before, and it’s a great video, good information ands entertaining to watch too.

I’m glad to see the emphasis he places on the amount of time spent exercising. Just speaking from personal experience, I think the fact that an increase in exercise leads to better physical health is pretty well understood. But the fact that you need to exercise for half an hour a day nearly every day seems to be a lot less prevalent in the public’s conscience.

I’m about 30-40 pounds overweight, 45 years old, and I walk about an hour every day. My blood chemistry results made my doctor say, “Holy shit!” when he saw my cholesterol numbers - in a good way. :slight_smile: The message I would like more people like me to get is that it doesn’t have to be a big production - just get off your couch and go for a walk.

quoted instead of edited

I also like that it’s not about weight loss; it’s about a change we can make that effects every aspect of our health and well-being.

But when I work it into my goal to lose weight, it’s also motivating. Because it’s not about the weight loss, i.e., an end result. It’s about the means, the regular choice you make in the moment to better your health.

I’ve seen posters on this board say that this kind of mindset – focus on the process, not the result – is what has helped them make significant lifestyle changes and stick with them. I really like this way of thinking. Instead of making “lose 2 pounds this week” my goal (which is partially out of my control – I might be retaining water for some reason, for example), I’m going to make “exercise 150 minutes this week” my goal (which I am wholly in control of).

Great, that’s just lovely. I’ve been trying to get to the gym as often as possible for the last couple of years. I currently have a two-month-old and a two-year-old at home. Do you have a video that explains how I can get them taken care of in the morning long enough for my wife to get enough sleep so that she can function, and still make it to the gym in time to do my daily 30 minutes and still get into the lab at something resembling a reasonable hour? Because that’s what I damn well need right now. And, oh yeah, I need to do this on a budget of exactly zero dollars, because I’m a piss-poor grad student.

Walk for 30 minutes while you eat that healthy sandwich you brought for lunch.

I’ve been trying to walk to work lately. Twenty minutes each way works out pretty well, especially if I do it more than once a day.

Put them in a double stroller and push them around the block for a half hour. You get exercise, they get fresh air, and your wife gets sleep. And it’s free.

  1. No one said anything about going to a gym
  2. It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes in one block
  3. Play vigorously with your kids, go up and down the stairs, walk wherever feasible, park farther away or get off the public transportation a stop earlier, do laps around the lab, you get the idea.

I used to have a paper route as an adult with an infant. I’d roll the papers, sling the bag over the stroller handles, put the baby in the stroller, and walk my route.

This. I was in my best shape ever after my children were born. When I had just the one, as soon as she was able to sit in one safely, I’d put her in a carrier on my bike and pedal away.

Interestingly, I’m getting into better shape now (and incidentally have lost a couple of pounds) now that I’m retired and not sitting at a desk all day, just from being active around the house.

That’s kind of weird that they specifically point out watching TV as what causes problems. If I sit in front of the computer for 7 hours or read for 5 hours and talk on the phone for 4, is that better?

**gallows fodder **you’re absolutely right about the process. I didn’t become a regular exerciser (well, post-high school) until I stopped thinking it was about weight and started thinking it was about avoiding all that other stuff they mention in the beginning of the video.

I do about 30-45 minutes almost every day (7 days most weeks) of walk/run (run, then walk home), usually in the morning unless it is raining (summer) or evening (winter, different times based on temperature, since it is cooler in the morning and warmer in the evening). Even when it is usually already in the 90s when I go out (I go shirtless if it is above 70 or so, or in the winter, wear a jacket only when it is 30 or below). I also lift weights several times a week, every 2-3 days, for a similar period of time, so that is on average about 6 hours a week.

I wonder if all the food commercials factor into it - I watch far too much tv in the evenings, and it’s wall-to-wall delicious, unhealthy food commercials.

I changed my perspective on exercise a few years ago - everyone always says to find something you enjoyed and do that, but I have never enjoyed any exercise. I look at it like flossing my teeth now - I don’t have to enjoy it, but I do have to do it. It’s just that simple.

I ride a bike 10 miles a day, canoe 5 miles twice a week and do stretching and general exercies 3 days a week.

After following this for a month and watching my diet I have lost…!!!3 lbs.

I hope there are some benefits to what I am doing other than weight loss. I am 100 no now97 lbs overweight.

30 Minutes of high energy walking is equivalent to how much cycling? Give or take of course.

30 minutes of high-energy walking is (roughly) equivalent to… 30 minutes of cycling.

This assumes a 5 mph walk and 12 mph bicycling. Hope that helps!

If you bump your biking up to race speed (16-20 mph), it’s more like 20 minutes. And for full info, all three of these exercises burn roughly 320 calories.