fitness · Sat with Nat

Defining my minimum activity level

This article from 2014 has been circulating through my social media feed the past week:

Can exercising for just 60 seconds a week transform your health?

I highly doubt 60 seconds a week will have the health impact I need but it did get me thinking about how I now define my minimum activity level. For me it’s the minimum amount of movement I need to be mentally and physically well. It’s like the Judo effort:


My minimum is more than the minimum Canadian Physical Fitness standards:

“To achieve health benefits, adults aged 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.

It is also beneficial to add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups, at least 2 days per week.”

I realize minimum activity statements are there to give accessible activity guidelines to what most people need to be healthy. I’ve decided I need more than that.

First there’s a baseline of 1 hour of walking a day. Weekdays that’s my commute to and from work and on the weekends walking my two dogs on Saturday and Sunday. If I don’t walk that much I get aches and pains. I need that gentle movement to pop my joints and stretch my muscles.

Second, some high intensity stuff. I need 3 hour long workouts a week. Whether it’s swimming, running or cycling, I need that high energy activity to release all the stress response in my body.

Third, the functional doing of my life, lifting mulch, digging holes, going to the beach, helping friends are all served by the first two things. Need help moving? Yes, I can do that and not get hurt. For me I expect to be able to go camping on my own and be ok. To cut down a tree, to move furniture, lift my 90 lb dog or my 120 lb kid.

What is your minimum exercise threshold? Is it more than the recommended minimum of your public health agency? Less? How do you decide?

8 thoughts on “Defining my minimum activity level

  1. I don’t have a minimum.
    I love yoga, and if I can make a class fit in my day, I do. That would be 5 days a week usually. Sometimes 7. Sometimes 4.

    Otherwise I take the stairs. Stretch in my office at lunch.

    I feel healthy. I couldn’t run a marathon, but I can do anything necessary for regular life with ease.

  2. I think my minimum is at least half hr. of walking outdoors, if I can not bike. Well, in fact, that’s what I did when I was recovering from my concussion due to cycling collision. This went on from Jan. – May this year.

    Walking helped regain my balance, fine tune by neurolocomotor movements back to normal and adjust my brain to movement as I walked along.

    Then some stretching exercises several times per wk. at home.

    Of course cycling…at least half to 1 hr. or longer several times per wk, if I can.

    I haven’t figured out if this meets minimum medical recommendations. I don’t care, it’s what my body likes and wants.

  3. I’ve thought about this more in terms of illness and injury. My bare minimum is walking the dog! But like you, when well, I need some speed and intensity. It’s a temperament thing as much as it is anything. I also need to lift heavy things some of the time even if it’s just my kettle bell.

  4. 60 minutes a week? No way… not for me. I need a solid 4 hours a week to maintain my mental health. in order to not go on a killing spree, LOL, I need a good 7 hours. My preferred method is to lift and throw heavy weights and run. recently I have mixed in biking and I’m on the brink of joining a yoga class 3x week and swimming.
    It might seem like a lot but it’s really just maybe 2 hrs. that would be spent on Netflix. (I really like Netflix).

    1. holy guacamole I read that wrong! 60seconds? what?! clearly I commend anyone who can workout for 60 seconds and feel like they can take on the world but…

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