You read that right. According to David Docherty, professor emeritus of the School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education at the University of Victoria, sitting on our duffs is a high risk factor and one of the strongest predictors of mortality.
The upshot? Burn 1000 calories a week through activity and you’ll improve your triglyceride level by 85%. You’ll decrease cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Prevent or delay high blood pressure. Decrease your risk of macular degeneration. And even retain your brain power.
“It doesn’t have to be sweaty and intense [exercise],” Docherty says. “A moderate activity like walking is very beneficial.”
The 1,000-calorie guideline is based on the more-scientific recommendation that we burn 3 to 4 calories per kilogram of body weight per day.
So at 62 kilograms, I can work off 186 calories a day to help keep my arteries clear and my bones and muscles strong enough to support me. That’s perhaps a walk to the library a couple of kilometers away.
Or a vigorous bike ride to a meeting across town one day, and to the farm market another, with a few strolls in between. Or, if you prefer, add up how much and how vigorously you move when you vacuum or rake leaves.
The thousand-calories-a-week guideline is the basis for all the other suggestions out there: 20 minutes three times a week (if your activity is vigorous), 30 minutes five or six times a week (if your activity is gentler), 10,000 steps…. They all come from the same foundation.
Fodder exceeds his 1000-calorie minimum on the rowing machine and treadmill at the gym, and on his recreational walks along leafy paths or the waterfront. The Saint gets his basic grand running up and down the stairs to and from the laundry room, washing the car, and so on.
This is not counting calories to lose weight, mind you. This is simply the basic amount of activity we humans need in order to stay above ground.
Coming on Thursday: is exercise alone enough to lose weight?