More than one way to skin a cat…

September 9, 2011

Hmm, I really thought I was leading a healthy lifestyle until a read an article by the Danish health guru, Chris Macdonald (well he is actually American not Danish, but I think he is only considered a guru in Denmark!).

He reckons that to have a healthy lifestyle your exercise pattern should include (in order of priority):

  • Daily moderate exercise such as walking, biking for transport, house cleaning etc. etc. equivalent to 10,000 steps a day.
  • 20-30 minutes high intensity training (running, spinning etc) 3 times a week.
  • An additional 2-3 times moderate intensity training 3 times per week.
  • 30 minutes weight training twice a week.

(You can read the article here – though only if you can read Danish!)

Well, I definitely do the last 3 – plus some! But I really doubt I manage an equivalent daily regular low intensity exercise equivalent to 10,000 steps a day. My office is in my house, approximately 10 steps from the kitchen, and while I sometimes do go out to do errands, I live about 100 meters from the centre of my town, so I don’t think it amounts to much. I do go for a walk with my dog at least once a day, but she isn’t a big dog and we don’t go for particularly long walks. Plus I have someone come and do my cleaning! Mr. Macdonald doesn’t however mention whether exceeding on the other points makes up for failing on this one….

Anyway this was in the back of my mind during August while I was participating in a fun challenge with some friends on www.endomondo.com, which allows you to track all your physical activities (both “sport” and daily exercise including transport by bike and walking), share it with friends and have little competitions. This time our challenge was to see who could burn the most calories during the month (after our various vacation overindulgences!) and all forms of exercise were allowed. So it was interesting to track the exercise patterns of my friends based on the above. As a generalisation, I’d say most of them were doing pretty well on the first three, but apart from me don’t think anyone was doing regular weight training. All of them were doing better than me on the daily low intensity stuff, though – most of them use bikes for normal transport and commuting.  

However overall my friend, Ole, took an early lead and finally won the challenge, but I was breathing down his neck for the whole month! The interesting thing about this is that Ole almost entirely burned his 16,967 calories cycling around the city, with very little high intensity training included. I on the other hand burned my 15,637 calories almost exclusively “training” whether running, hammering it on my bike, or in the gym, without much of the day to day exercise as I mention above.  Of course Ole has a good reason to need to burn the calories because he is married to my good friend, the fabulous cook, photographer and blogger FoodyTwoShoes! But regardless of that Ole and Foody made an inspirational lifestyle choice to dump the car and cycle everywhere which Ole has written about here.

According to Mr. Macdonald however, neither Ole nor I are doing an optimal job on the exercise front, even though most people probably think we both tend to the obsessive! I’m not sure that I buy it though. Maybe he’s right in terms of statistics and research but for me the important thing is to have a balanced and happy lifestyle with exercise as a natural part of it and not as an extra duty, obligation or burden, and I’d say Ole and I – and the rest of my endomondo friends for that matter – are really good examples of that – this post is dedicated to you!

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2 Responses to “More than one way to skin a cat…”


  1. Aw, thanks for the nice mention 🙂

    Chris Macdonald obviously has far too much time on his hands 😉

  2. olekassow Says:

    “Competing” against you was really great fun, although it’s hard to justify calling it competition, when I’m really just slow-riding my 600k a month, but hey, according to Endomondo I’m now close to one tenth around the world since March. I’ll make sure to let you know when I get back 🙂

    Good luck with the upcoming marathon. You rock!

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