Did you hear about the recent JAMA study showing that women who got at least one-hour per day of moderate physical activity maintained a healthy weight over the long-term?  The amount of physical activity required to prevent weight gain in the study was estimated in metabolic equivalent (MET) hours per week and was found to be 21.5 MET hours per week.  The researchers stated this is equivalent to brisk walking for one hour, seven days per week.

Several of you have voiced your concerns over this study and understandably so. These recommendations don’t necessarily line up with One on One’s exercise prescription for weight maintenance for the long-term.

We don’t dispute that the energy output of 21.5 MET hours per week will enable an individual to maintain their healthy weight. This is the volume of activity necessary to maintain healthy weight. Let’s take a look at what makes up volume.

Volume = Frequency x Intensity x Time (duration)

If volume is a function of frequency, intensity and time, it would make sense that if one of these variables were to increase; the other variable(s) could decrease without affecting the volume. For instance, if I am capable of working at a higher intensity (i.e. “7-8” on a rating of perceived exertion scale as opposed to a “5-6” which would be considered moderate), I could potentially decrease either the time or frequency of my training without affecting the volume. It behooves me to be of a higher fitness level so I have the option of training with greater intensity.

Listen, it would be great if we all had the luxury of blocking out an hour, seven days per week for moderate activity. Unfortunately, many of us have sedentary jobs and very full schedules. The ability to work out with greater intensities affords me more options with my training. Options are great. When life throws me a curve ball and I have to “squeeze” a work out in, I know I won’t compromise my chances for maintaining a healthy weight over the long term.