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Posted December 14, 2015

I will take back what I said in an earlier blog about the limited value of the Fitbit and other step counters. I changed my mind. 10,000 steps a day equals the 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise recommended by the American Heart Association. So if the Fitbit helps you accomplish that goal, go for it. The problem is that step counters only count steps, so it will not count your calories or fitness from riding a bike or, what we have found, walking on a treadmill while holding the rail. My patients are disappointed to find they come for a treadmill stress test on which I have them hold the rail for balance and not get any credit for steps.

As an alternative to 150 minutes of exercise a week, 75 minutes of vigorous exercise can be substituted. So depending upon how hard you exercise, that is 10 or 20 minutes a day. I think you can do it.

Examples of moderate exercise are:
  •  Walking 3-4 miles per hour
  •  Bicycling less than 10 miles per hour
  •  Iyengar Yoga
  •  Tennis double
  •  Gardening at a constant pace
  •  Mowing with a self-propelled mower
Examples of vigorous exercise are:
  •  Jogging, running, spin class
  •  Swimming laps
  •  Tennis squash, racquetball singles
  •  Jumping rope
  •  Hiking uphill
  •  Vinyasa Yoga
  •  Mowing with a push mower

I encourage you to go to myfitnesspal.com to find their great exercise calorie counter and food calorie counter. You can get these apps on your phone and computer. They have a huge database of types of exercise for you to keep track of how many calories you burn and a massive database of calories from foods even from restaurant menus, grocery stores, etc. You can keep an instantaneous count of how many calories you are taking in.

I will have more tips on how much exercise you should do to stay fit, and more importantly, live longer on future blogs.