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June 30, 2014 06:45 PM

Underestimating Exercise Overestimations

You might think you get the recommended amount of exercise, but a new study finds that most people tend to overestimate the amount of exercise they get and don't really understand how much exercise they need for good health.

Many people figure it's okay to eat not-so-healthy foods if they get a workout in each day.

"I can go eat a big cheeseburger and it will be okay but no you still need to eat healthy," Sanford Personal Trainer, Shaelee Nelson said. 

Because burning off that burger usually takes alot more workout than you think.

"A lot of people when using the machines, they look at the calories expended on a treadmill and for the most part those are overestimated," Nelson said.

A new study suggests that the majority of people have a misunderstanding of how much exercise is needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"Maybe they are on the elliptical for 45 minutes and they are sweating, but are you really reaching that vigorous exercise if you went that long and sweated that much? Probably not," Nelson said. 

Which means that workout isn't a license to binge on the bad stuff.

"People are like, oh I burned 300 calories yay and that's good for the day but in actuality, they probably burned less because it doesn't take into consideration your total body fat or if you are a male or female," Nelson said.

Researchers say the amount of time it takes to expend 500 calories walking is based on how fast you walk and how much you weight.

We asked shoppers at the grocery story how long they think it would take to burn off eating a bag of peanut M&M's…

"To burn this off… I am thinking working on a treadmill probably three hours… walking 5 miles," Anita Fleming said.

"Probably a good mile… walking hard," Janet Castle said.

Actually it's going to take more than that. In most cases, it will take more than two hours to burn off this bag. Nelson says the key to burning more calories is to increase your heart rate by doing interval training.

"At least 30 minutes of exercise five times or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week," Nelson said.

So start moving if you want that not-so-healthy food for dinner tonight.

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