Will increasing the daily exercise recommendations just make things worse?
Australians have long been encouraged to engage in 30 minutes of moderate activity a day. This we studiously ignore: 35% of us are completely sedentary; 36% have only a low level of exercise; leaving just 28% that meet the required amount (and this is based on asking people what they had done in the previous two weeks and it’s human nature to think we’re more active than we really are).
The National Health and Medical Research Council have now suggested that the recommendation be increased – by 100% – to at least one hour of activity a day.
This might be sound advice from a scientific point of view, but we humans are governed by more than science and moving the goal posts to an even less achievable level could act as a deterrent for those of us that are in the sedentary to low bracket. Even those who have managed to incorporate regular activity into their day would have to eke out another 30 minutes in their day.
I know that having unrealistic goals is one of the main reasons that people fail to lose weight or make lasting changes to their lifestyles. Less than 10% of the people I see in my clinic do any regular exercise and I’m pretty sure that telling them that they now have to do 60 minutes a day for it to be effective will make it even harder for them to start.