Objectives: This study examined cross sectionally the physical activity patterns associated with low, moderate, and high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.
Methods: Physical activity was assessed by questionnaire in a clinic population of 13,444 men and 3972 women 20 to 87 years of age. Estimated energy expenditure (kcal.wk-1) and volume (min.wk-1) of reported activities were calculated among individuals at low, moderate, and high fitness levels (assessed by maximal exercise tests).
Results: Average leisure time energy expenditures of 525 to 1650 kcal.wk-1 for men and 420 to 1260 kcal.wk-1 for women were associated with moderate to high levels of fitness. These levels of energy expenditure can be achieved with a brisk walk of approximately 30 minutes on most days of the week. In fact, men in the moderate and high fitness categories walked between 130 and 138 min.wk-1, and women in these categories walked between 148 and 167 min.wk-1.
Conclusions: Most individuals should be able to achieve these physical activity goals and thus attain a cardiorespiratory fitness level sufficient to result in substantial health benefits.