Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults aged 18-64 yrs state that, as a minimum, we should each be trying to accumulate 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity each week, or 1.25-2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity each week. In addition you should also do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
It’s a staggering fact that more than half of Australia’s adult population are not active enough. However, let’s put that statistic aside for a moment, because if you are reading this, chances are you’ve already swallowed the exercise pill and so now you are wondering if what you are doing is enough.
Specifically, let’s look at this in CrossFit terms. A general CrossFit group session runs for 1 hour. During that time approx 30 minutes is spent undertaking moderate intensity physical activity (warm up, skill development, cool down). If it is a day when a metcon is being performed then you could also expect to be undertaking 15-20 mins on average of vigorous intensity physical activity (sometimes more – much, much more – but we are talking averages here). If you attend the box 3 times per week, you may have accumulated 1.5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity and 1 hour of vigorous intensity physical activity in that week. So you would be pretty well on par with the minimum recommendations (taking into account that strength work is also addressed as part of the normal plethora of CrossFit activities).
But is it enough?
The Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines also go on to say that increasing your exercise volume to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 2 ½ hours of vigorous intensity physical activity, will provide greater health benefits and help to prevent cancer and unhealthy weight gain.
Of course physical activity isn’t only accumulated in the gym and you should try and accumulate as much incidental activity as possible outside of the gym and minimise sedentary activity (aka sitting on your bum). A brisk walk, recreational swimming, dancing, social tennis, golf, household tasks like cleaning windows or raking leaves, or pushing a stroller all contribute to your weekly moderate activity levels. However, people often overestimate just how much moderate intensity activity they do. In addition, if you are time poor, spend long hours commuting, or spend the bulk of your day hunched over behind a desk then opportunities for incidental accumulation of activity can be limited.
From our perspective, additional sessions in the CrossFit gym over and above 3 times per week are an easy way to get maximum bang for your time “buck”. The additional sessions will boost your overall weekly activity levels to the upper end of the guidelines where the health benefits are greater. Plus you get the added benefits of faster skill acquisition, greater exposure to the variety of training stimuli and importantly, more time spent hanging out in the supportive environment of your CrossFit family.
So, are you working out enough? Be real in your assessments (ie 3 x 1hr CrossFit sessions each week does not equal 3 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity and 3 hours of resistance training). Take into account your experience level and how long you have been exercising for. If you are just starting out ramp things up gradually over a few to several weeks. If you have been exercising for a while it might be time to step things up a little incorporating more CrossFit sessions into your week and also looking for more opportunities outside the box to get moving.