Even if you exercise everyday – whether that’s at home, at the gym, or taking your dog for walks – you might not be getting as much physical activity as you think you are. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week.
But, even with these clear guidelines, research shows that many of us overestimate the amount of exercise we do. In fact, around 36% of people overestimate their physical activity levels – and an even higher proportion (61%) of individuals that are not reaching adequate activity levels are overestimating their physical activity levels. One review even found people overestimate their activity levels anywhere from 36% to 173%.
One of the reasons people tend to overestimate their physical activity levels is because they don’t understand what is meant by moderate and vigorous intensity exercise. Not only could this mean people aren’t getting enough exercise, it could also mean those who do regularly exercise aren’t getting as much benefit as they might think they are. Fortunately, we can easily assess exercise intensity by measuring our heart rate during exercise.