Calorie Counters - How Active is my Lifestyle?

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07-18-2013, 12:27 PM
In order to figure out how many calories we should eat each day, we need to know how "active" we are. Every source I've seen defines active as follows:

a) Sedentary: Very little or no exercise at all
b) Slightly active: Light exercise between once and three times per week
c) Moderately active: Moderate exercise three to five days per week
d) Active: Intensive/heavy exercise six to seven times per week
e) Very active: Very heavy/intensive exercise twice a day

None of those describes me! I'm 55 years old, so everything I do would be defined as "light" by most peoples' standards, even though it feels intensive to me. Simply put, I'm no longer capable of heavy. But I exercise at least 2 hours each day, each and every day. That includes walking, swimming, lifting weights (not very heavy!), etc. Thus, in terms of how often I exercise, I fall in the very active category...but in terms of how intensely I exercise, I'm only in the slightly active category.

So, should I just split the differences and assume I'm "moderately active"? Or do I stick with only "slightly active" because all my exercise is light?

Kelly R
07-18-2013, 12:33 PM
When I read the Zone Diet book, it said that if you were overweight, you should automatically bump your activity up one level. The idea was that you're doing a certain amount of activity just carrying the extra weight around.

If I were you, I would consider myself moderate. Hope this helps :)

07-18-2013, 01:16 PM
I have no way of knowing for sure, but I'd consider your activity moderate. Good for you for exercising so much!

07-18-2013, 01:31 PM
I would say moderate also- Anorher factor to heavily consider is: how active are you when you aren't exercising? A construction job vs a waitress vs a desk job are all going to be very different in terms of calories burned- I would say that the activity you do outside of "exercise" is as if not more important than how many calories you burn during those two hours. While exercise is fantastic and it's great that you are getting so much of it- there are still 22 hours left in each day to consider ;-)

07-19-2013, 06:07 PM
Thanks to all for the responses!

danzingurl: My job provides tons of exercise for my brain, but not much for my body (I'm a partner in a major CA firm involved in investment I'm behind a computer or in meetings all day). Plus my kids are grown and I have no grandchildren, no chasing after kids. Other than walking, swimming and other forms of actual "exercise", my only other activities would be housekeeping and a bit of gardening. So, a large portion of the other 22 hours sees me sitting or sleeping!

07-20-2013, 01:45 AM
ive often wondered this about myself too lol

I work out 5 times a week, usually running/walking intervals and incline running/walking on the treadmill or running outside....fairly intense sessions about a half hour each time...where I leave dripping in sweat each time

I also work 7 hours a day managing a childcare center...I am on my feet for 95% of the day and do a lot of walking

beyond that I take care of the house, cooking, cleaning etc....taking the kids places...running errands for home...

I have absolutely NO idea where to place myself on that list

07-20-2013, 07:45 AM
Alaskanlaughter: I'm tired just reading about everything you do! I'd put you in the active to very active category...but certainly active, at a minimum.

07-25-2013, 09:00 PM
Whenever I have to figure this out for myself, I look at my lifestyle and not my exercise. I'm basically sedentary with my lifestyle, so I use that as a baseline. When I incorporate exercise during the day, I use look at it as, "These are the calories I burned off extra today and I can add them as earned calories or my total. I will NOT eat them, but they will give me more leniency and my net calories at the end of the day will be lower and thus create a boost."

I don't know if anyone else does this, but it seems to work for me! :)

07-25-2013, 10:19 PM
In order to figure out how many calories we should eat each day, we need to know how "active" we are...

Not necessarily true. You don't really need this information at all. The only advantage to having the information is to give you a starting point. From that point on, feedback from the scale is what really helps us figure out how many calories we should eat each day.

In my twenties, the activity-based calorie recommendations were fairly accurate, but that became less and less true. Now even the sedentary guidelines consistently overestimate my calorie needs (maybe because there is no disabled and nearly comatose less-than-sedentary guideline).

Regardless, you don't need to know your activity level, you just need a reasonable guess to give you a calorie level to start with. There are no dire consequences to guessing wrong - your feedback from the scale and your hunger will help you decide whether you've found the right starting point or whether you should add or subtract calories.

So guess and adjust as neccessary.

07-27-2013, 09:17 PM
I am a personal career in a nursing home, our position is very physical and I would walk for the best part of a 6 hr shift. I make sure I walk fast, the resident refer to me as the little Shetlon pony. Or one fella says here comes the race horse, because of my shoes and the noise I make walking. It has become part of my day.

I have to slow down when I get near a resident because it puts them in a flurry. I have worn a trip metre to see how many steps we do and is over 10000, but the Dr says NO go home and walk the dogs.

I walk the dogs, but the last thing I want to do after looking after 40 residents with dementia is exercise when I get home a 6am in the morning.

Any suggestions