How Much Activity Is Encompassed In Activity Level?

Hi everyone,

I am struggling to understand what is really included in the different activity levels. I assume sedentary is for someone with a desk job that generally doesn't move around much, doesn't go on walks or runs, maybe just sits all day. Lightly active, I assume, is for maybe someone who's up and about, walking around throughout the day, but not a ton, etc etc. But really what is included in these?

What I mean by this is: if I sit all day for my job, and most of my free time as well, I'd consider myself sedentary in terms of activity. But what if I exercise every day? Is that lightly active? Or is that still sedentary and I should be manually logging exercise? And if the latter is true, where is the line drawn? If sedentary really is sedentary, is a walk to the store something that's included in that? Or should I be manually logging things like walks to the store or park, even if they're 10 minutes max?

Or what if I go on vacation for a couple of weeks and I'm generally moving around a lot more (even though my lifestyle hasn't changed), should I keep it sedentary and log things like "walking around Disney World, 45 minutes"? Or should I update it to lightly active for just the duration of the trip?

But that has me even more confused, because if I'm going to be generally more active while on vacation, what's included in lightly active vs sedentary?? Would changing to lightly active accommodate my increase in general daily movement, but I should still be manually logging things like "walking around Disney World" or "Kayaking" for longer periods of time?

Sorry for the long post, but I like to be as accurate as possible with these things, and my upcoming vacation sorta has me confused on what I should be logging in terms of general movement and exercise, as I consider myself to be a pretty sedentary person (but I do exercise every day) so the confusion here is great.

Thanks for the help


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    I'm also confused about this. I just log myself as sedentary every day because I can't tell how much walking is included in 'sedentary'.

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    You're over thinking it. As a general rule, you're better to underestimate your activity level, than to overestimate it. If you really want to play around with it, then start low and work you're way up. Watch the scale average over time and adjust accordingly.

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    How are we overthinking it? How do we under-estimate it? I'm not sure what you are suggesting with your comment.

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    edited October 2020

    User manual

    I say you're overthinking it because your weight scale average tells you everything you need to know. Sedentary is the safe choice. Anyhow, the link above is from the user manual. It provides a short description and it shows the math.

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    This was actually a really good question. What is actually meant by activity level? If I sit at my desk 6-8 hours a day (sedentary) but I vigorously train on my bike for 30-40 minutes and then do some solid weight training with moderate weights for 40-60 min each day, am I still categorized as “sedentary“ according to the app?

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    Hi @Jordan

    The activity level is an estimate of the calories you burn each day beyond keeping your body functioning - this is covered in your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

    Even if you're sitting at your desk all day, you are still burning calories above your BMR that the sedentary level estimates.

    With your added workouts, I'd bump your activity level estimate to moderately active. The user manual linked abve by haildodger gives the definitions for each level, if you'd like to check them out.

    Karen Stark
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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    edited January 2021

    @Karen_Cronometer Can you expand on this if we've synced a fitness device that automatically adds our activity levels to Cronometer? In that case, would it be best to put this setting at "none" for activity since it's being tracked and added by the device? Wouldn't using the setting in Cronometer plus the device essentially duplicate the calorie adjustment in BMR?

    EDIT: Ha. Looked at the user manual link and answered my own question!

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