The average obese woman gets only one hour of vigorous exercise each year, and obese men get less than four, according to a new study. The study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, involved 2,600 adults between the ages of 20 and 74. They wore accelerometers that tracked their movements and provided data about how much they exercised and at what intensity.
“They’re living their lives from one chair to another,” study author Edward Archer, a research fellow with the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told HealthDay. “We didn’t realize we were that sedentary. There are some people who are vigorously active, but it’s offset by the huge number of individuals who are inactive.”
Vigorous exercise was defined as fat-burning activities such as jogging. But one researcher not involved in the study said that “vigorous” is relative to an individual’s fitness level. For some severely obese people, walking could be a vigorous activity. However, Archer said that most obese people could benefit from any type of movement.
“People don’t understand that [you] don’t have to go to the gym and lift weights and run marathons to have dramatic impacts on your body,” Archer said. “Standing rather than sitting, walking rather than taking your car, they have huge impacts on your health over time.”
The federal recommendation for exercise is at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week, and research shows that just 30 minutes of exercise five days a week will help maintain one’s weight.