Since I’ve been running regularly and a lot, I’ve often been asked: Isn’t that too much? Do you still have the right size?
These questions annoyed me for a long time, I felt it was overreaching. In fact, I think everyone has to find the right balance for themselves.
No studies will help you with that, after all we are individuals. No body works like the other.
What is too much for one person is just a warm-up program for another. Nevertheless, the question often arises: What do I have to do to get through life fit?
The World Health Organization has a clear recommendation: Adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should incorporate 150 minutes of moderate activity per week into their everyday lives. A number that may scare many at first. At first glance, that seems like a significant number. When should you fit almost two hours of exercise into the already full week? And above all, what does “moderate” mean? On a scale of one to ten, that would be about a five, to give you a feel. In terms of running, that would be more of a brisk walk than interval training. Do you see? And already these 150 minutes are quite feasible.
Health is the reward
So moderate exercise is within the realm of possibility, that’s the good news. But it gets even better: Anyone who can discipline themselves here, who invests these 150 minutes, will be rewarded handsomely, or you will reward yourself. Many studies show that you can achieve amazing things with this workload: The risk of suffering a heart attack decreases . Likewise, type 2 diabetes, strokes and some types of cancer have significantly less chance of harming us. Incidentally, one number leaves you speechless in this context: Germans move far too little during the day. On average, we cover 800 meters a day, so it’s no wonder that Germany is getting fatter in international comparison.
You can do 150 minutes like this
Anyone who thinks that the recommended time cannot be achieved because you have to complete it in one go is wrong. This is also the result of studies: You can divide the time completely! You can even break up the 30 minutes a day. And indeed: That’s exactly how I started ten years ago! I ran for 15 minutes in the morning and then again in the evening after work. Yes, this beginning is difficult. But very quickly the 15 minutes become a lot more. And really anyone can fit 30 minutes into their everyday life.
Again, to give you a feeling, 30 minutes of moderate activity is about 7,000 to 8,000 steps. A good tracker or a smart watch can be nice helpers to check the steps. Those under the age of 60 should take at least 10,000 steps a day, and those over 60 should take 6000 to 8000 steps. And that really is doable for everyone. Even my father, who is 72, still manages at least 10,000 steps a day. For him, it’s walking the dog. Dad is my big role model. It always has been. He used to run a lot. Today it is walking, because his knees no longer allow him to go jogging.
It takes more to get fit
A somewhat sober message at the end: The WHO recommendation refers purely to the health effects of exercise. If you want to get fitter, if you want to lose weight, if you want to improve your athletic performance, you really have to do a lot more.
But even then the number is really manageable: If you want to maintain your weight, if you want to improve and strengthen your endurance, you have to double it. An hour of activity is enough to achieve all of this. And here we are indeed back to measure. And here I often ask the question in reverse: Isn’t it a good measure to know that you only have to invest an hour a day in yourself to stay fit and healthy forever? I think that’s how it works.
This is our running columnist Mike Kleiss
Mike Kleiß has been doing sports since he was a child. “Those who exercise achieve more” is his motto in life. Running was always his favorite subject. For seven years he has been running between 15 and 20 kilometers almost every day, often in marathons and sometimes in ultra marathons.
So far, our columnist has published two books on running. He is the founder and managing director of the communications agency GOODWILLRUN. Mike Kleiss lives with his family in Hamburg and Cologne.
Here he shares his experiences as a runner to motivate others to jog.