PAI & Today's physical activity guidelines

How does PAI fit within today's physical activity guidelines?

The World Health Organization (WHO), American Heart Association (AHA), and other organizations around the world recommend 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week for optimal health benefits. People are not meeting these recommendations for a variety of reasons, including lack of time and not knowing if the activities they are doing are sufficient to be 'moderate' or 'vigorous'.

The Talk Test

The "Talk Test" was developed as a way for people to test if they are doing moderate or vigorous activity. Moderate physical activity roughly is any activity where you could still talk, but you wouldn't be able to sing. Vigorous physical activity is more difficult, where you would only be able to say a few words (not complete sentences).

Advances in technology and research have allowed us to move past the Talk Test and expand on the WHO guidelines, which is where PAI comes in. The PAI Health app provides a much more granular and detailed look at the activities you do, recognizing any effort you put in as long as it gets your heart pumping. PAI is personalized to you - your resting and maximum heart rate, age, sex, and body's response to exercise - so the moderate and vigorous activity zones will be customized to you.

Let's take a look at a couple of examples to show how exactly PAI works in relation to today's guidelines.

Example 1

Sean is a 39-year-old man with a resting heart rate of 60 beats per minute (BPM). He takes 5 minutes to climb the stairs to his apartment, getting him into the moderate intensity zone - about 140 BPM for him.

This is on the "higher" end of Sean's moderate intensity zone, so he may earn 8 PAI over the 5 minutes it took for this activity. On a different day he does a hula hooping competition with his kids, also getting him into the moderate intensity zone, except this time his heart rate is in the "lower" end at 120 BPM. Sean gets credited different for this activity, as his heart and body weren't working as hard as when he took the stairs, earning him about 3 PAI. PAI improves on the WHO and AHA guidelines in this granular way - awarding you credit for varying degrees of intensity within each activity zone.

Example 2

Olivia is a 56-year-old woman with a resting heart rate of 67 BPM. She has a previous knee-injury, preventing her from doing a lot of traditional vigorous exercise activities, but does enjoy lighter exercise such as bike-riding, swimming, and yoga. Some of these activities would fall outside of the WHO and AHA's physical activity guidelines, but Olivia should still get some credit for being active. This is where PAI can help as well.

PAI gives recognition for all activities - vigorous, moderate, and low. While Olivia would have to do more than 150 minutes of low intensity activity to earn 100 PAI (and therefore be getting enough physical activity for optimal health), she still should get some credit for these other activities - which is what PAI provides.

Example 3

Kristin is a 42-year-old woman with a resting heart rate of 58 BPM. She does many different activities during the week including online dance classes, rock climbing, and using gym equipment. She doesn't strictly time herself, though, so isn't sure if she's doing enough to meet the guidelines. The PAI Health app fits here as well - it will tell Kristin how much time per day she spent in each activity zone. The app also displays a graph with heart rate data, allowing Kristin to visualize exactly which activity was in each activity zone, and how much PAI is earned from each zone.

These are just a few examples of how earning 100 PAI can fit with the WHO and AHA guidelines for physical activity. Let us know if you have any questions about how PAI can fit into your life!

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