In 1996 the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report that concluded, people of all ages can gain significant health benefits by participating in 30 minutes or more of physical activity on most (preferable all) days of the week (1). In 2007, the guidelines were updated to include vigorous activity as well so that Americans can meet minimum guidelines by performing moderate physical activity for 30 minutes for 5 days a week or vigorous exercise for 20 minutes for 3 days per week (2). Another health promotion guideline is to walk 10,000 steps per day for the prevention of chronic disease and weight control (3). Keep in mind these are minimums for health promotion not necessarily to place you in the top 10 of a Spartan Race. It is a good place to start for the 3+ billion people who are inactive globally.
Thirty minutes of physical activity is equal to an energy expenditure of about 150 kcals. Walking 10,000 steps is approximately the equivalent of 5 miles or about 500kcals. Walking 5 miles at a moderate pace will take about 80 minutes. Preliminary research from the Spartan Institute of Burpee Science (SIBS) indicates that a 150lb person will burn about 1.2 kcals per Burpee.
SIBS recommends that for overall good health, people of all ages can gain significant health benefits through the performance of 100-160 Burpees per day. In order to meet 10,000 steps per day standard, 240 -420 Burpees will need to be performed. The Burpees can be accumulated throughout the day in three to six, 10-15 minute sessions. The limiting factor for most individuals attempting to achieve this goal will be lack of muscular endurance and the inability to perform the 100+ push-ups associated with the Burpees. Another potential limiting factor is poor mobility in the hips and spine. Insufficient flexibility can lead to inefficient movement and higher energy expenditures than those reported by SIBS. But as muscular endurance and flexibility improves with time, meeting the minimum standard can be achievable by all.
1) Department of Health and Human Services. (1996).Physical Activity and Health: A Report from the Surgeon General. Atlanta:DHHS
2) Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, Powell KE, Blair SN, Franklin BA, Macera CA, Heath GW, Thompson PD, Bauman A. (2007). Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Aug;39(8):1423-34.
3) Tudor-Locke C, Bassett DR Jr.(2004). How many steps/day are enough? Preliminary pedometer indices for public health. Sports Med. 2004;34(1):1-8.