An Hour of Excerise a Day, Really?

“An hour of daily exercise needed to stay slim!” If you paid any attention to the morning shows or news last week, you probably heard a similar proclamation. It’s a catchy headline, I’ll admit. But how true is it?

All the hoopla is centered around a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It looked at more than 34,000 middle-aged women and found that the ones who were able to maintain their weight over a 13-year period averaged about 60 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise—which may make you want to just toss your sneakers into a corner and give up. Who has that kind of time? (Not me.) Luckily, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Here’s the thing: The study didn’t look at “hours” the way we think of them; instead, it looked at MET hours. (MET stands for “metabolic equivalent,” in case you’re wondering.) Roughly translated, one MET is the amount of energy your body expends when you hang out on the sofa for an hour. Spend that hour walking at a moderate pace and you expend a little over 3 METs. Turn that into a 6 mph run and it equals 10 METs. The more intense your activity, the higher the METs. Make sense?

In the study, those who managed to stay slim expended at least 21 MET hours per week. Now if you’re walking at a moderate pace, yeah, that equals about an hour per day. But if you’re willing to up the intensity a bit, or maybe even do something other than walking, you can shave your time down substantially.

Courtesy of

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