How Much Exercise Do We Really Need?


Can We Get Too Much Exercise?

The answer to question number one is highly personal for each individual and it is also affected by your sex, age, and your weight. There is no one size fits all when it comes to how much and what kind of exercise each individual needs.

The answer to number two is yes.

When it comes to exercise you can have too much of a good thing.

Exercise increases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins block pain. Endorphins decrease anxiety. Endorphins create a sense of euphoria. Endorphins are chemically similar to morphine. It is easy to get hooked or become addicted to that feeling of euphoria and want more and more and more. In other words, some people become addicted to exercising. The symptoms of addiction are the same as for any drug: nervousness, irritability, muscle twitching, and restlessness.

Too much exercise can damage the heart.

While much of the research on this point has been done with marathon runners and athletes, it may shed some light on what is happening when we engage in heavy exercise.

Marathon runners had more plaque in their arteries than non-runners in one study, and had scarring of heart tissue in another.

Remember Jim Fixx the fitness guru who collapsed and died of blocked arteries while jogging in 1984?

Last year the New York Times published an article about a study that “….provides the first solid evidence of a direct link between certain kinds of prolonged exercise and subtle heart damage.”

Exercise and Women

In women too much exercise can lead to amenorrhea which leads to thinning bones and osteoporosis.

What to do? Should we stop exercising?

I am not a doctor so I can’t say with any authority.

But I think not. The body was designed for motion. On balance people who get some form of exercise tend to be healthier.

However, I do think the key is moderation. Moderation in what ever kind of activity you enjoy doing;  be it jogging, running, walking, biking, swimming, dancing or whatever.

 Let’s Not Forget Everyday Activites.

There are a lot of daily activities many of us engage in where we can burn calories and get moving.

About a year ago I published a post titled, Just 100 Calories. I reported on a study that said by just eating 100 fewer calories a day a we can lose two pounds a year. Doesn’t sound like much, but that is about the average number of pounds we gain each year as we age. For men it is about 3 pounds a year. The article then gave small ways to give up 100 calories a day. It isn’t that hard to do.

Now let me take that one step further.

Let’s add to that 100 calories 400 calories burned each day without formal exercise. We could easily burn 500 calories every day without running, jogging, or going to a gym.

How you ask.

Easy.  Did you know that you can burn on average 344 calories per hour gardening.

Below are more examples. For every 30 minutes in the following activities you burn:

Vacuum the carpet = 155 calories

Gardening =172

Grocery shopping with cart =130

Playing with kids =149

Cooking  = 93

Dancing =265

Except for the dancing figure, all of the figures above came from Harvard Medical School  Health Publication for a 155 pound person. The dancing figure came from EverydayHealth.

As you can see from the above, it would be pretty easy to burn an additional 400 calories every day without having to go to the gym, spend a lot of money, or find more time in your already too busy day.

Calories burned are calories burned, no matter what or where you do it.

Be creative. At the grocery store I park at the far end of the parking lot and walk the few extra steps to the store and back to the car. I often take stairs instead of the elevator in office buildings.

 I just burned 102  calories typing this post on my computer.

Gee! I feel healthier already!

What ways can you find to burn 400 calories? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Featured Recipe        Hamburger Yakitori

I normally make this with flank steak or chicken. But at $7.99 a pound flank steak is too expensive for a recession and budget cooking blog. It was almost as bad for chicken today. So today I am substituting ground chuck and making hamburgers instead.

This is not a hard recipe. However, it moves fast. But I have tried to organize it so it is as simple as possible.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

1 pound ground chuck

1 small red pepper

1 small yellow pepper

4 ounces mushrooms

1 8 ounce can pineapple chunks

4 green onions for garnish

2 tablespoons canola oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Teriyaki Sauce

4 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons dry sherry

4 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground ginger or to taste

2 garlic cloves

How observant are you? Did you notice I put garlic in both pictures?

Here is what you do:

 Using a press add the garlic to a bowl.

Add all of the  remaining sauce ingredients in the bowl and whisk well. Set aside.

Prep the vegetables: Wash the peppers and the green onions.

Slice the peppers in half, remove the stems and the seeds. Slice the peppers thin.

Cut off the root and about 2 inches of the top of the green onions and slice them on a diagonal.

Using a damp paper towel or commercial mushroom cleaner, wipe the mushrooms clean. Trim the stems of the mushrooms and then slice them.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced peppers and sauté for a minute or two and coating the pepeprs with the oil.

Then add the mushrooms and sauté them for a minute or two coating them with oil too.

Pour in the Yakitori sauce and cook until warm. Lower the heat to low and let simmer until the hamburgers are  done.

Divide the ground chuck into 4 equal sections and make 4 hamburger patties. Add the other tablespoon of the oil to a second skillet. Add the hamburgers to the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes on one side. Flip the burgers and cook for 4 more minutes for rare burgers.

Basic Hamburger Cooking times:

3 minutes each side for rare

4 minutes each side for medium rare

5 minutes each side for well done.

While the hamburgers are cooking on the second side drain and add the pineapple chunks to the Yakitori sauce and heat through.  

One the pineapples are warm the dish is done. All that is left is to plate it up and eat.

I serve the hamburgers with some rice and a salad. I spoon some of the sauce with the vegetables on both the burger and the rice. Garnish with the green onions. [Did you think I forget the green onions?] See, isn’t that pretty and colorful? Remember Eat A Rainbow?

Bon appétit!!!


1 pound ground chuck            $4.28             

1 small red pepper                 $1.00

1 small yellow pepper            $1.67

4 ounces mushrooms             $1.69

1 8 oz can pineapple              $0.96

4 green onions                      $0.28

2 tablespoons canola oil         $0.09

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Teriyaki Sauce

4 tablespoons soy sauce         $0.72

4 tablespoons dry sherry         $0.50

4 tablespoons brown sugar     $0.16

¼ tspn ground ginger            $0.32

2 garlic cloves                       $0.12

Total cost = $11.69
Cost per person = $2.92

NOTE: Rice and salad not included in the cost analysis

Quote of the Day

I really don’t think I need buns of steel. I’d be happy with buns of cinnamon. 

Ellen DeGeneres


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