Many overestimate exercise intensity, study finds

Credit: Peter Griffin/Public Domain

Do you work out for health benefits and feel you are exercising more than enough? You might be among the many Canadians who overrate how hard they work out or underestimate what moderate intensity exercise means, according to a recent study out of York University's Faculty of Health.

"Our study findings suggest that the majority of young and middle-aged to old adults underestimate the intensity of that is required to achieve ," says Professor Jennifer Kuk, School of Kinesiology and Health Science. "This is worrisome both for personal and public health and well-being."

The 129 sedentary adult ages 18 to 64 recruited for the study, irrespective of their sex, ethnicity or BMI classifications, correctly estimated physical activities of light effort but underestimated moderate and vigorous effort, even after being given commonly used descriptors.

"We instructed volunteers to walk or jog on the treadmill at a speed which they felt corresponded to the 'light,' 'moderate' and 'vigorous' intensity descriptors used in the physical activity guide, yet they underestimated how hard they should be working to achieve moderate and vigorous intensity," lead researcher and graduate student Karissa Canning says.

Health Canada, as well as global physical activity guidelines using general terms to describe exercise intensity (determined by a given percentage of the maximum heart rate of an individual), recommend that adults ages 18 to 64 years should participate in two-and-a-half hours of moderate to per week for 10 minutes or longer at a stretch.

For adults to achieve a moderate intensity, their heart rates should be within the range of 64 to 76 per cent of their and between 77 to 83 per cent for vigorous intensity, according to the Canadian and global .

Though there has been ample research that helped to develop the current guidelines, it is unclear whether individuals actually understand them as intended, notes Canning. The Heart and Stroke Foundation funded study, Individuals Underestimate Moderate and Vigorous Intensity Physical Activity was recently published in PLOS ONE.

More information: www.plosone.org/article/info%3… journal.pone.0097927

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Health experts investigate new fitness regimes

May 01, 2014

Researchers looking at ways to improve government physical activity guidelines and tackle Britain's fitness crisis are calling for volunteers to take part in a new study.

Recommended for you

The hunt for botanicals

19 hours ago

Herbal medicine can be a double-edged sword and should be more rigorously investigated for both its beneficial and harmful effects, say researchers writing in a special supplement of Science.

Mozambique decriminalises abortion to stem maternal deaths

21 hours ago

Mozambique has passed a law permitting women to terminate unwanted pregnancies under specified conditions, a move hailed by activists in a country where clandestine abortions account for a large number of maternal deaths.

Infertility, surrogacy in India

21 hours ago

Infertility is a growing problem worldwide. A World Health Organization report estimates that 60-to-80 million couples worldwide currently suffer from infertility.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.