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Monday, November 30, 2009

Does work count as exercise?

I ask all my patients if they exercise.  It's an important question since exercise is so important for cardiovascular health.

A common answer:  "I exercise at work."

Unless you are a bicycle delivery person who covers large distances or a valet car attendant who spends most of your shift running to retrieve cars, it doesn't count.  Construction and manual labor don't really count either, since those jobs involve short bursts of lifting or exertion as opposed to a sustained effort.

Granted, a job that has you moving on your feet is far better than a desk job in terms of promoting heart health.  However, for true cardiovascular benefit, you should be doing something outside of your daily work that involves a sustained effort, preferably for at least thirty minutes on most days of the week.


Jim Purdy said...

So long hours of surfing (the internet) doesn't count?

Who woulda guessed?

Jesse said...

Hmm, I remember a doctor asking me that one time (before I started running). I told them what I did for a living (load bags on airplanes). She replied, "so, no you do not." I responded with, "If I had told you that I lifted 200 reps of 40lbs within 15 minutes, multiple times a day, would you say I exercise?" She changed her mind.

Tuco said...

On a mildly different topic, I'm always surprised by people who talk about going for lunchtime bike rides (Bicycling magazine seems to bring this up every five seconds).

How do these people have time for that? When I'm lucky I have an hour for lunch, but adding in clothes-changing time and the time required to get to a road where I could actually get a workout, I doubt the health benefits from the ride would be worth the time required.