Episode2 Segment 3 - What are my current levels of physical activity?
Fast Fact 1
A 24 hour activity table is helpful
Fast Fact 2
Measuring progress will motivate you
Fast Fact 3
Activity can be graded from gentle to vigorous
Working out current levels of activity
It is important to recognise your current levels of physical activity on a usual day. One way of working out what you are currently doing is through the use of a 24 hour activity table. This table will help you work out whether you are getting 6 minutes or 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day. It will also show you periods of time where you may be inactive.The table covers three main areas:
1. What activities do you do?
This includes things like sleeping, travelling to/from school, sitting in class, playing sport, sitting down for meals, lying on the couch to watch TV, standing in the kitchen to wash up, and so on.
2. How much time do you spend doing the activity?
Use a watch, pen / paper / iPod / iPad to record how long you spend doing the activity. For example, from 10am-11am you may spend 40 mins sitting in class, 5 mins walking from class to meet your friends for recess, and 15 mins standing with your friends eating morning tea.
3. What is the intensity of the activity?
There are 3 main ways of describing the intensity of an activity – vigorous, moderate, and gentle.
- Vigorous activities tend to make you “huff and puff”. Some examples include running, swimming laps or training for sport such as netball or soccer.
- Moderate activities involve getting up and about, usually using the whole body, but not huffing and puffing or feeling sweaty. Some examples include brisk walking, bike riding or skateboarding with friends, dancing, hand-ball, playing in the surf, climbing a tree, helping with sweeping or vacuuming.
- Gentle activities tend to be ones where you may not even notice or think of it as an activity, but they involve moving. Some examples include showering and getting dressed, helping with the washing up, folding clothes, strolling around the house, park, or shops, playing musical instruments, gentle movements in a pool.
The 24 hour activity table is one way of working out how much physical activity you are currently doing, and the level of intensity that activity is. This will help you to get a baseline of your current activity. Looking at your table, how long are you spending in a day resting, lying down, sitting, standing, and walking? How many of your physical activities are moderate or vigorous?
What else can I do and measure?
Other than measuring time spent in an activity, you can also measure things like distance walked, weight lifted, and repetitions with your physical activities. For example, you may be able to walk to and from the local shops or park, you may be able to lift small grocery bags into and out of the car, you may be able to do a number of sit-ups, star jumps, or push ups. These are all physical activities that can be measured, and then improved upon. You can use a pedometer or free App to work out distances, and scales for weights.