Physical Activity Levels explained

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An individual's physical activity level reflects their average pattern of daily activity. The activity levels you can choose from in Professional are predefined based on research. 

You can choose an activity level in the client's Profile on their General tab. In the Activity box, a dropdown menu offers choices ranging from bed rest to very heavy. Each activity level corresponds to a value known as a Physical Activity Level (PAL) factor, which is used in the calculation of the individual's estimated energy requirements.

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Choose an Physical Activity Level 

To choose an activity level, compare your client's pattern of activity with the examples in the table below. The pattern should represent an average day. 

Activity Level PAL Factor Lifestyle Description Example of Occupations
Bed Rest 1.2 At rest, exclusively sedentary lifestyle such as lying in a bed, usually the individual is in a bed or chair bound state Describes individuals who are unable to move around freely or earn a living. Those who are old or infirm
Very Sedentary 1.4 Exclusively sedentary activity, generally seated at work. With little or no strenuous leisure activities Office employee, precision mechanic
Sedentary 1.5 Sedentary activity and seated work with some need for occasional walking or standing. Little to no strenuous leisure activities Laboratory worker, driver, student
Light 1.6 Predominantly standing or walking work, with little strenuous leisure activity Checkout cashier, domestic duties, salesperson, waiter, mechanics, teacher
Light-Moderate 1.7 Predominantly standing or walking work with some strenuous leisure activity Checkout cashier, domestic duties, salesperson, waiter, mechanics, teacher
Moderate 1.8 Predominantly standing or walking work with significant amounts of strenuous leisure activity Checkout cashier, domestic duties, salesperson, waiter, mechanics, teacher
Heavy 2.0 Heavy occupational work or significant strenuous leisure activities Construction worker, farmer, miners, high performance athlete
Very Heavy 2.2 Heavy occupational work in addition to significant amounts of sport or strenuous leisure activities Construction worker, farmer, miners, high performance athlete

If you're still unsure about which activity level to choose, you can look at the breakdown of hours the client spends pursuing different types of activity over a normal day.  

Bed Rest Very Sedentary Sedentary Light Light-Moderate Moderate Heavy Very Heavy
Activity Duration Description
Sleeping 8 hours Overnight
Sitting/Lying Quietly 12.5 hours Includes reading, thinking, listening, watching TV, being a passenger in a vehicle
Sitting busy 3 hours Includes talking, eating, playing cards, typing, driving a vehicle, sewing, handcrafts, writing
Light on foot activities 0.5 hours Includes some walking and moving around or active work e.g. light domestic chores, production line, handyman work, light gardening, lawn bowls, golf, strolling, walking at an average pace
Moderate on foot activities 0 hours Involves walking or moving around quite a lot and activities which involve some bursts of heavy work e.g. vacuuming, vigorous sweeping, pushing a wheelbarrow, sailing, badminton, dancing, fast walking
Strenuous activities 0 hours Very heavy gardening and digging, chopping wood, very heavy building or lifting, fast paced tennis/cycling, moderate paced swimming, football, jogging (7km/hr), weight training
Very strenuous activities 0 hours Race-paced swimming/rowing/cycling, fast paced squash, running (10-15km/hr)

 

Warwick, P.M., Predicting food energy requirements from estimates of energy expenditure, in Truswell AS, Dreosti IE, English RM, Palmer NP and Rutishauser I (eds). Recommended nutrient intakes: Australian papers. Sydney: Australian Professional Publishers, 1990.

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