What Is Moderate Activity?

Consulting with a doctor about physical fitness and maintaining a healthy weight might lead to a discussion on suggested food choices as well as moderate physical activity. Adults are encouraged to take on simple exercises to stay active and physically fit. However, most people tend to just go and find some sort of exercise to comply with being active.

Exercise experts provide some guiding principles on physical fitness. Activity is measured in MET or the Metabolic Equivalent for Task or the amount of oxygen that the body uses during physical activity. Exercise experts have assigned METs to different activities. Through this, people can compare the amount of effort made with each activity across different ages and weights.

The Metabolic Equivalent Task Spectrum

For an average adult, one MET is the energy required while at rest. Someone weighing 160 pounds will burn around 70 calories every hour that he or she spends sitting or sleeping. When a doctor suggests that you do moderate physical activity, this means that the body should burn around 3-7 calories per minute depending on the person’s weight and fitness level. This will involve activities that are strenuous enough to burn six times the calories as you would when sitting down. When a person reaches the 7MET effort, it is already considered a vigorous activity. The MET Spectrum is usually measured as:

   At Rest         –    1 MET

   Light Activities        – 2 METs

   Moderate Activity     –    3-6 METs

   Vigorous Activity     –    7 or more METs

This MET spectrum has one limitation. This method of measurement does not consider the level of fitness, age or condition of the person. It means that a walk at 3 Miles per hour will require 4 METs and is a moderate-activity whether it is a young runner or an 80-year old grandmother who is walking.

Recommendations for Daily Exercise

Exercising and being physically active has a lot of health benefits for most people. This includes people with physical disabilities, children, elderly and pregnant women. At least one hour daily of being physically active is suggested and it should involve moderate or vigorous activities. Adults should have at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-activity per week at a minimum. It should be in bursts of at least ten minutes for each activity. Those who are spending 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking, yoga or bike ride for most of the week, then it meets the required quota. But doing more, either in frequency or in exercise intensity is better for one’s overall health.

Examples of Moderate Activity

To understand this better, some real-life examples of what is considered as moderate-activity includes – walking at around 4 kilometers per hour, biking, ballroom dancing, playing tennis, cleaning the house and running your dog for at least 10 minutes or more. When you start moving and your breathing feels harder or labored, but you can still carry a conversation, you are doing a moderate-activity. If it is hard to speak and you are sweating with your activity, this is already considered a vigorous activity.

Tips for Measuring MET

Some people find it hard to determine how many METs they are using as they try to stick to doing moderate activities. This can be made easier by using the Borg RPE or Rating of Perceived Exertion. This scale monitors how one would feel about their activity levels. At the bottom of this scale is absolute stillness and the top end is sprinting with as much effort as you can.

On the Borg RPE, the scale applies for most adults under the age of 65. Borg rating of exertion starts is 6 when one exerts zero effort such as when one is reading or watching television. The very light effort falls into the 7-8 scale and an example of an activity is when one ties his shoes. Very light exertion of 9-10 scale involves activities such as folding of clothes. Scale 11-12 require a fairly light effort but are not enough to speed up breathing or heart rate. The somewhat hard effort on the 13-14 scale involves activities such as brisk walking and others that require moderate efforts that speed up heart rate and breathing. Scale 15-16 require hard efforts and involve activities such as swimming and cycling. Very hard exertion on the 17-18 scale refers to the highest stage of activity that one can sustain. The top level of the Borg scale at 19-20 scape require very, very hard exertion and it refers to activities that you cannot maintain for long.

In the Borg RPE, Moderate-activity falls into the 11-14 scale, thus exercise that benefits the body is not limited to an extensive session at the gym. One may also find various physical activities at home such as running errands, playing with the kids, socializing with friends and other activities. The most important thing is to find activities that you will enjoy so that you can make time for them despite your busy schedule.

Some Examples of Moderate-Activity that Everyone can Do

For exercise experts, moderate-activity is anything that will get your heart rate up by around 50 to 60 percent higher than when you are at rest. Generally, they recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activities. There are hundreds of options that exercises that fall into the moderate-intensity exercise. Some examples are:

  • Walking 3 kilometers in 30 minutes
  • Cycling 6 kilometers in 30 minutes
  • Swimming for 20 minutes
  • Running 2 kilometers in 15 minutes
  • Playing volleyball for around 45 minutes
  • Jumping rope for 15 minutes
  • Climbing stairs for 15 minutes

These are exercises that can be done various setups. There are other days to day activities that fall into the moderate-activity. It includes washing the car for an hour, gardening for 30 minutes and dancing for around 30 minutes. People with a medical condition that limits their activity as well as those who had been living a sedentary life should ease themselves into these physical fitness activities to see how the body will respond. If you are following an overall fitness plan, you might incorporate strength training, better food choices and fighting food cravings.