It is not really a big secret that obese individuals don't get enough exercise, but a new study has revealed just how much exercise they get. The results are startling.

Obese men get less than four hours of exercise in an entire year. The number is even lower for obese women: one hour of exercise a year.

A study called "Validation of a Novel Protocol for Calculating Estimated Energy Requirements and Average Daily Physical Activity Ratio for the US Population: 2005-2006" was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings last December. The study aims to determine the physical activity ratio in the US population analyzed the weight, diet, sleeping patterns, and exercise levels as measured by an accelerometer, of 2,600 adults aged between 20 and 74.

In an interview with Healthday, study author Edward Archer, a research fellow with the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said that people were generally living unfit lives, and spend a lot of time in tasks and jobs that are sedentary, and even choice of recreational activities tend to be sedentary as well, such as playing video games.

"They're living their lives from one chair to another," said Dr. Archer. "We didn't realize we were that sedentary. There are some people who are vigorously active, but it's offset by the huge number of individuals who are inactive."

Obesity heightens the risk of a person contracting a cardiovascular disease. The risk of stroke, diabetes, and some cancers are more likely to hit obese people than those who are not. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that more than one in three people in the United States is obese, and Dr. Archer's study has shed light on just how much exercise these obese individuals get.

The CDC suggests that 150 minutes of exercise a week is required for adults to stay healthy. These 150 minutes (or two and a half hours) can be spent doing a mix of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, and doing muscle-strengthening activities that work all muscle groups. Vigorous-intensity aerobic activities such as jogging, running, swimming laps, riding a bike fast on hills, playing singles tennis or playing basketball, can also be combined with muscle-strengthening activities.

The 150 minutes of exercise per week might seem daunting to many, but the CDC says that this may be broken up into smaller chunks of time that will allow the fitness activities to be easier to get through. A 10-minute brisk walk three time a day, five times a week, is sufficient to yield a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity required for the week.

Dr. Archer also said that even the little changes individuals make in their daily habits can yield significant results in the long run.

"People don't understand that [you] don't have to go to the gym and lift weights and run marathons to have dramatic impacts on your body. Standing rather than sitting, walking rather than taking your car, they have huge impacts on your health over time," he explained.

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