Now that summer is upon us and I have been on my bike for a few weeks, I am reminded how important it is to be physically active on a daily basis. Specifically, we need to be moving throughout the day not just when we make it to the gym or play our favorite sports.
As we grow older, the North American lifestyle takes it toll, especially for those of us who are raising kids and holding down a full-job. On the one hand, we spend a great deal of time driving to and from work, the daycare or school, and ferrying our kids to their organized activities. On the other, we our glued to our computer screens during the day and then add on extra hours using our portable devices or crashing out on the couch watching HD TV. To say the least, this is a sedentary lifestyle.
If you where a tracking device, it doesn't take long to realize that a so-called normal day means taking about only 3000-4000 steps. For me that means burning somewhere around 2300 calories for the day. Adding in two or three workouts is not enough to counterbalance the lack of physical activity as I carry on during the week.
Say that I work out twice and burn an extra 700 calories per session, add some extra calories burned after the workouts due to an increase in my metabolic rate, but minus the extra calories I consume due to my increase in appetite. All in all, I would estimate that the workouts bring about a very modest calorie deficit of only 1000 calories.
In other words, with such a low baseline of daily activity, the two workouts will have a negligible effect if any on my body weight and composition.
However, if I increase my activity level to taking 12,000 steps a day, I now burn about 3400 calories a day. In this scenario, my workouts now create a significant calorie deficit.
For example, going to and from my work is about 28 kms. This works out to be an extra 850 calories burned each day that I commute by bike. In the best case scenario, weather permitting, I commute five times during the week while maintaining the same number of steps taken daily. On these days, I burn well over 4000 calories each day.
Of course, it is imperative not to significantly increase calorie consumption, and I am able to do this but sticking to a slow carb regime that severely limits my intake of high glycemic carbs contained in bread, rice, potatoes, sugar, and refined flour products. Instead, I fill up with about 7 to 8 portions of fruit and vegetables per day in addition to the two portions of protein that I consume.
So far so good and I am looking forward to getting back to you by the end of the summer with a portrait of my results.