Exactly what do you mean by moderate?

Comments (5)
By Peter Hadzipetros

You've seen them – those lean and lanky, fit people who credit their ability to maintain that look to eating moderate amounts of a well-balanced diet combined with a moderate amount of exercise.

They're the people who can eat a few bites of the yummiest dishes and say they've had enough. It's a trick I've yet to learn.

I like to run marathons, so moderation is something that doesn't come naturally to me. I put in a lot of kilometres in training – last week, almost 110. That's good and bad. I'm burning a lot of calories, but also developing a substantial appetite.

Think Michael Phelps – the diet, not the bong.

That doesn't do much good if you want to lose weight. You take in as much as you burn and your weight won't budge. You're also courting dietary disaster if you cut your activity but remain – as my father used to say – "a good eater."

A lot of the folks noted as experts in the fields of diet, nutrition, exercise and how the body works say we should emulate those mostly lean and lanky people and combine a moderate diet (a little over 2,000 calories for the average woman and a little over 2,500 calories for the average man) with moderate amounts of exercise – about 30 minutes, five times a week.

But what do they mean by "moderate exercise?"

Researchers at the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences of San Diego State University, think they have the answer: 3,000 steps over 30 minutes, five times a week.

That breaks down to 100 steps a minute, which may sound like quite the pace. While it's no leisurely stroll, it won't win you a medal in the 100-metre sprint. Think walking quickly to get to a meeting.

Nobody's going to go around counting steps for half an hour. However, lead researcher Simon J. Marshall says you can do it with a pedometer and a watch. Pedometers are pretty accurate when it comes to counting steps, but they won't measure the intensity of your workout. Count your steps for a couple of minutes, and you'll get a pretty good idea of your pace.

After half an hour of this – if you're not totally out of shape - you'll feel like you've had a workout. Not exhausted, but moderately tired.

Marshall notes that half an hour at a time may sound daunting to a lot of people. His advice: break it up. Your body benefits from workouts as short as 10 minutes. So instead of looking at this mountain of 3,000 steps, you'd get the same benefit by doing 1,000 steps in 10 minutes, three times a day – on level terrain.

It's a small change that – over time - can yield more than moderate results.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments (5)

Monette Comeau

Athletes have different dietary requirements than those who, for example, exert light efforts of physical activity every day. Light activities might include walking, gardening, lifting groceries, climbing stairs etc (60 minutes per day is generally recommended).

Once the range gets into higher intensity and longer endurance type exercise, it's important to balance the energy output with energy intake, and to keep hydrated.

According to

"Athletes sweat at different rates (anywhere from under 500 mL an hour to over 2 L per hour. It is important that you drink enough during and after exercise to replace the fluid you lost in sweat."

"Approximately 30 – 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour (such as in the form of a sports drink) can improve exercise performance."

After exercise
"Once your activity is finished, your body is ready to store energy again, repair muscles and fill up with fluids. After exercise, start with a shake (blend milk, fruit and ice together), sport drink, chocolate milk or water. Soon after exercise choose a meal or snack rich in carbs and protein."


Remember that restrictive diets are not generally recommended for high level athletes as they need more energy to maintain their activity levels. It's always best to check with a health professional such as a dietitian or physician if you have any questions regarding your healthy, your eating habits and overall well-being.

Dietetic Intern
Halifax, NS

Posted April 20, 2009 02:49 PM

Colin Doyle

After reading about the 3000-step/30 minute excercise plan, I timed myself on my evening walk and was pleasantly surprised to find that I basically walk at that pace now. Now, I'm by no means in tip-top shape yet, but that evening walk (usually about 50 minutes) has made a big difference. Perhaps beginners should try - as I did – walking with a pedometer at their own pace, then gradually work towards the 100 stp/min goal. If you can't walk with a friend, wear an iPod – you'll be surprised at how fast the time flies.

Posted March 23, 2009 09:02 PM

Lady K


I just found your blog and will be back for more. I too am a marathon runner so moderate doesn't always figure into my running routine.
Looking forward to reading more...time to check out your archives.

Posted March 23, 2009 07:37 PM



Thank you for the information, but please consider those people who are not "average". 3,000 steps may be more than daunting for some, it may be impossible, but those are the ones who need exercise the most and can benefit from alternatives. For example, people who are over weight and under fit can do severe damage to their joints, muscles, tendons and heart if they try this regimen at the outset. Most know this and therefore do not exercise at all. If they are informed about alternatives like swimming and cycling then there is a chance that they can become fit enough to follow your regimen for maintenance. To ensure that their exertion stays in the "moderate" range may require the advice of their doctors and the use of a heart rate monitor. Their eventual goal is to achieve and maintain the level you describe. Let's not assume everyone can start at that level, nor ignore the ones who cannot. Those at a superior level of fitness need no advice from me.

Posted March 23, 2009 12:24 PM

bicycle enthusiast


I'm one of those lean lanky people you talk about. I too exercise and eat moderately, eating very few animal products and fat and lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

But for exercise, very few lean people are carrying around a pedometer. I think exercise has to be an enjoyable activity or it won't be done. It should be incorporated into daily life and with a purpose, such as doing errands on foot or by bike. Walking a dog is a good one as well.

Having said that, for those who can't seem to incorporate exercise in their daily lives, your suggestion seems like a good moderate way to measure exercise each day.

Posted March 22, 2009 10:19 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment


Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Back of the Pack »

About the Author

Peter HadzipetrosPeter Hadzipetros is a producer for the Consumer and Health sites of CBC News Online. Until he got off the couch and got into long distance running a few years ago, he was a net importer of calories.

More from Peter Hadzipetros »

Recent Posts

Sports drinks: playing with your brain
Peter Hadzipetros
Friday, April 17, 2009
Exactly what do you mean by moderate?
Peter Hadzipetros
Friday, March 20, 2009
Share the road
Peter Hadzipetros
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Racing from recession
Peter Hadzipetros
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Now that's cold!
Peter Hadzipetros
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Subscribe to this blog

Recent Comments

Athletes have different dietary requirements than those w...
Exactly what do you mean by moderate?
After reading about the 3000-step/30 minute excercise pla...
Exactly what do you mean by moderate?
I just found your blog and will be back for more. I too a...
Exactly what do you mean by moderate?
Thank you for the information, but please consider those ...
Exactly what do you mean by moderate?
I'm one of those lean lanky people you talk about. I too...
Exactly what do you mean by moderate?


April 2009 (1)
March 2009 (1)
February 2009 (1)
January 2009 (1)
December 2008 (1)
September 2008 (1)
July 2008 (2)
June 2008 (2)
May 2008 (1)
April 2008 (2)
February 2008 (1)
January 2008 (2)
December 2007 (2)
November 2007 (4)
October 2007 (3)
September 2007 (3)
August 2007 (3)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (5)
May 2007 (3)
April 2007 (6)
March 2007 (3)
February 2007 (6)
January 2007 (7)
December 2006 (2)
November 2006 (3)
October 2006 (3)
September 2006 (4)
August 2006 (5)
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

World »

North Korea's missile test fire fails hours after UN meeting on nukes
A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch, South Korea and the U.S. said, the third test-fire flop just this month but a clear message of defiance as a U.S. supercarrier conducts drills in nearby waters.
Philippines says it has killed commander of Abu Sayyaf extremist group
The Philippine military chief says marines have killed an Abu Sayyaf extremist commander considered to be one of the most notorious kidnappers in the country's south.
Commander in tweet: Trump's first 100 days, as seen through his Twitter account
In the first 100 days, Trump's tweets have moved markets, advanced conspiracy theories, attacked his own party and ultimately helped define his fledgling presidency.
more »

Canada »

Police collecting video, investigating complaints about Premier's Dinner protest video
Organizers of the protest say aside from a few isolated incidents, it was a peaceful demonstration of people's frustrations with the cuts in the provincial budget.
Sajjan expresses 'regret' for claiming to be architect of key battle against Taliban
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has expressed regret for taking credit for leading a major land battle to root out the Taliban in Afghanistan more than a decade ago. In a recent speech in New Delhi, Sajjan spoke about his role in the pivotal 2006 Operation Medusa.
Photos Crowds welcome home body of Sgt. Robert Dynerowicz in Kitchener, Ont.
Sgt. Robert “Bobby” Dynerowicz's body will be returned to Kitchener and a funeral is planned for Monday. Dynerowicz died Tuesday after he was involved in an accident while riding in a light armoured vehicle during training at CFB Wainwright, Alta.
more »

Politics »

Canada restarts free trade negotiations with South America's Mercosur trading bloc
Canada's hectic international trade agenda is about to get even busier, as it takes new steps toward formal free trade negotiations with Mercosur, the trading bloc that includes the key South American markets of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Justice ministers craft plan to unclog court systems video
Justice ministers from across Canada have identified priority areas for major overhaul in a bid to end chronic court delays. After a day-long emergency meeting in Gatineau, Que., the ministers mapped out a game plan to speed up the criminal justice system.
Trudeau has 'window' to settle softwood dispute before NAFTA talks: Raymond Chrétien
According to former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. Raymond Chrétien, the Trudeau government has a small window to settle the softwood lumber dispute out of court before U.S. President Donald Trump kicks off his renegotiation of the ​North America Free Trade Agreement.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Fyre Festival postponed after reports of Hunger Games-like conditions emerge
The inaugural Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, promoted by social media celebrities and supermodels, was postponed Friday after attendees reported dilapidated accommodations, and top-billed performers pulled out.
Atlantic electro musicians find fame abroad, but fly under radar at home
The traditional music industry is playing "catch-up" when it comes to recognizing electronic music, according to some artists who have decided to create a new Maritime-wide music association to support urban artists.
Principal orders Edmonton students not to talk about 13 Reasons Why at school
Students at an Edmonton elementary school have been ordered to refrain from discussing 13 Reasons Why, a controversial Netflix series about the suicide of a teenage student, while they are at school.
more »

Technology & Science »

Blog Robots boldly go where no one has gone before: Bob McDonald
For space exploration, robots deliver a lot of bang for your buck.
Humpback whale babies 'whisper' to their moms to avoid detection by predators
New research suggests newborn humpback whales "whisper" to their mothers, which could be to avoid detection by predators such as killer whales.
This box can see through walls — and it could shake up home security
Aura looks for intruders based on the subtle disturbances in wireless spectrum their movements make, like ripples in a lake.
more »

Money »

Bombardier faces lengthy legal battle with Boeing that could hurt CSeries sales
Bombardier faces a lengthy legal battle with Boeing after the aerospace giant filed a complaint with the U.S. government and the process could hurt sales of the new CSeries commercial jet, say trade experts and industry analysts.
Canada's GDP unchanged in February
Canada's economy didn't expand in February, as a slight uptick in the service sector was offset by a small decline in the goods-producing sector, according to Statistics Canada.
Home Capital Group says another $290M pulled out of savings accounts video
Home Capital Group Inc. says money is continuing to flow out of the company, with roughly $290 million pulled out of high-interest savings accounts on Thursday.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Recap Talbot stands tall as Oilers steal victory in Anaheim video
Patrick Maroon had a power-play goal and Cam Talbot made 39 saves as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series.
Jays' frustration mounts after another blown lead in loss to Rays video
Logan Morrison hit the third of Tampa Bay's three home runs in the eighth inning as the Rays rallied for a 7-4 win over the struggling Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.
Andre De Grasse's mission: Beat Usain Bolt before he retires video
Don't let the smiles and back slaps fool you. While Andre De Grasse and Olympic legend Usain Bolt struck up a friendship in front of the world at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Canadian sprinter wants desperately to topple the Jamaican before the icon calls it a career.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »