Can I get a waiver on the “how much do you exercise” question?

I never need an excuse to use a Sunflower picture.

My newfound appreciation for medical care does entail one significant and constant annoyance. That series of questions concerning exercise, which beings easily enough, do you smoke, do you drink.. no to both… and then they try to quantify something they just do not understand. How many times a week do you exercise? For how long? Well, the easy thing to tell them would be that I commute by bike each day to work, so 25 minutes/day. That they could relate to. But just try and explain that for “exercise” what you do are two 30 mile 2-hour rides with 30 minutes at 90% of your V02Max, and a third ride of 60 miles at a bit lower intensity.

It doesn’t translate. It would sound a bit arrogant to just tell them to write that I’m “off the chart” but, for their charts, I am. I could give them total watt hours, average power, weighted power, or Strava Suffer Score. I could give them watts/kg for a general view of my shape. But below are the guidelines they use, and for the life of me, I just can’t translate them very well-

Guidelines for Adults

The guidelines advise that:

  • Some physical activity is better than none. Inactive adults should gradually increase their level of activity. People gain health benefits from as little as 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.
  • For major health benefits, do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. Another option is to do a combination of both. A general rule is that 2 minutes of moderate-intensity activity counts the same as 1 minute of vigorous-intensity activity.
  • For even more health benefits, do 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of vigorous-intensity activity each week (or a combination of both). The more active you are, the more you will benefit.
  • When doing aerobic activity, do it for at least 10 minutes at a time. Spread the activity throughout the week. Muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or vigorous intensity should be included 2 or more days a week. These activities should work all of the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms). Examples include lifting weights, working with resistance bands, and doing situps and pushups, yoga, and heavy gardening.

Maybe they should just use a Strava Suffer Score! Seriously, how should I answer their question, which demands a quantitative answer? Can’t they just look at my treadmill V02 data and write a waiver for me?

2 thoughts on “Can I get a waiver on the “how much do you exercise” question?

  1. Mike,

    The medical profession has no understanding of what we do! And that scares me very much when the doctor looks at test and panics because results are not \”normal\”. I have been sent for expensive follow ups because of \”abnormal\” finding. One such was an emergency appointment for an echo cardiogram after the EKG showed an inverse T wave. I now try to get all my test results prior to each checkup appointment so that I can research how extensive endurance exercise might impact the data. I have had some real squabbles with my doctor at times, but we now have a pretty good appreciation of how we complement each other regarding my health. Remember doctors call it \”practicing medicine\”. What did Iverson say about practice?

  2. I specifically chose a docker who’s profile said they were active running, skiing and going to the gym so that i could relate to them a bit better and i didn’t have to worry about them telling me that to lower my BP perhaps i could try more exercise. 🙂

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