PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LEVEL DEFINITIONS

Sedentary
  • If you’re sedentary, your daily activities include:
    • Activities of daily living only, such as shopping, cleaning, watering plants, taking out the trash, walking the dog, mowing the lawn and gardening.
    • No moderate of vigorous activities.
    • Unless you do at least 30 minutes per day of intentional exercise, you are considered sedentary.
    • Spending most of the day sitting (e.g. bank teller, desk job)
  • The majority of people will be considered sedentary

Lightly Active
  • If you’re lightly active, your daily activities include:
    • Activities of daily living only, such as shopping, cleaning, watering plants, taking out the trash, walking the dog, mowing the lawn and gardening.
    • Daily exercise that is equal to walking for 30 minutes at 4mph.  For an adult of average weight, this amount of exercise will burn about 130-160 additional calories.
    • More intense exercise can be performed for less time to achieve the same goal.  For example, 15-20 minutes of vigorous activity, such as aerobics, skiing or jogging on a daily basis would put you in this category.
    • Spending a good part of the day on your feet (e.g. teacher, salesman)

Active
  • If you’re active, your daily activities include:
    • Activities of daily living only, such as shopping, cleaning, watering plants, taking out the trash, walking the dog, mowing the lawn and gardening.
    • Daily exercise that is equal to walking for 1 hour and 45 minutes at 4mph.  For an adult of average weight, this amount of exercise will burn about 470-580 additional calories.
    • More intense exercise can be performed for less time.  For example, jogging for 50 minutes per day.
    • Spending a good part of the day doing some physical activity (e.g. waitress, mailman)

Very Active
  • If you’re very active, your daily activities include:
    • Activities of daily living only, such as shopping, cleaning, watering plants, taking out the trash, walking the dog, mowing the lawn and gardening.
    • Daily exercise that is equal to walking for 4 hours and 15 minutes at 4mph.  For an adult of average weight, this amount of exercise will burn about 1,150-1400 additional calories.
    • More intense exercise can be performed for less time.  For example, jogging for 2 hours minutes per day.
    • Spending most of the day doing heavy physical activity (e.g. bike messenger, carpenter)
[Source: Visualizing nutrition: Everyday choices. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.]