Healthy Bites

Are You Getting Enough Exercise? 3 Tips to Be Sure

A man runs down a road, and looks at his watch
Do you know how much time you really spend exercising? (Image credit: Runner photo via Shutterstock)

When I was in grade school, I had a five-mile uphill walk to and from school, and it was always during a blizzard. Yeah, there were blizzards in May too.

Don't believe me? Well, that's certainly what it felt like.

Do you know anyone who has a tendency to exaggerate? Well, you might be surprised to find out that you could be one of those people too. A study published in the January issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports Medicine found that both men and women overstated the time they spent on moderate exercise by nearly an hour.

That's a large difference. And the study participants were given sensors to track their movement, so they knew the study was not based on their estimations alone. [Best Fitness Trackers]

This study begs the question: Are we lying to ourselves about our own fitness?

It is certainly possible, but how can we know? Here are tips to ensure you're being honest with yourself about following through on your fitness goals:

1. Grab a buddy. Your buddy's job, and yours, is to hold you accountable for the time you spend exercising. He or she can help keep track of time, and help ensure that you're exercising when you should be. Remember, it's not enough to pass the time at the gym. You must be moving in order to claim exercise time.

2. Keep a journal. Once you get the hang of exercising during exercise time, start logging your time. If you have been exaggerating, your results may be disappointing to you at first. Don't worry, though. Over time, you'll likely gain a better grasp of your time spent exercising.

3.  Take a class. Instead of just walking, running or lifting on your own, consider taking a timed class. This way, as long as you participate throughout the entire class, you'll know exactly how much time was spent exercising.

Healthy Bites appears weekly on LiveScience. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!

Deborah Enos
Deborah Enos, CN, also known as "The One-Minute Wellness Coach," is The Health Coach for busy, working people. She pares her good-health messages down to simple and fast bullet points that can impact lives in 60 seconds or less. Deborah serves as a board member of the American Heart Association.  In addition to writing the Healthy Bites column for Live Science, Deborah is a regular on FOX Business News, NBC and ABC, and is a frequent contributor to The Costco Connection, Parade Magazine, Self Magazine, Good Housekeeping and USA Today. Deborah is also The One Minute Wellness Coach for The Doctors TV Show.