“Activitystat”

Runner’s World features an article today discussing the results of two studies that indicate humans may have a “set point” for activity, or, an “activitystat,” an average level of daily physical activity, which they won’t exceed.  So, if you run hard in the morning, you probably won’t move as much in the afternoon; it is something other than fatigue, and your afternoon inactivity may be unintentional.  They say this level varies from one person to another.  The original article, “Do We Have a Set Point for Excercise?” was published in a New York Times blog on Wednesday.

I figure that if I only have a certain amount of energy each day, I may as well spend it on higher-intensity activities that have greater health benefits.  Better to run hard and have to rest than to be moderately active all day, right?  At least I’m building cardiovascular and muscular strength, as well as becoming a more efficient runner.  Walking up and down the basement stairs all day with a laundry basket is much, much better than sitting on the couch (and it does leave me quite tired), but is it as good as a six-mile run?  Or is it better, because of the muscles involved in climbing stairs?  Now someone will suggest that “it’s all about balance.”

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