Small Amounts of Exercise Are Good for You

Doctors will always tell us we need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day to remain healthy. But, many of us fall short of that goal. Between busy schedules and being tired because of those schedules, a lot of people don’t fit exercise into the day. It’s disheartening and can lead to folks feeling like they are letting themselves down. Yes, we should all aim for a workout every day. Yes, more exercise is better than less. A proper workout is very beneficial. However, as G. K. Chesterton said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” A short amount of exercise is far better than feeling defeated and not doing anything at all!

Busy lives or suboptimal health can hold us back from exercising. Additionally, when you aren’t in great shape, the idea of exercising can be daunting. However, research has shown that as little as 10 minutes a day can have serious health benefits. We have spoken in the past about the heart health benefits of performing chores. But, additionally, studies have quantified how much smaller amounts help our bodies.

A study from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of 464 women who didn’t exercise took place over six months. They found that women who walked at two-three miles an hour for 72 minutes a week had better health and fitness levels. Their results almost matched them women who exercised twice as long. The researchers pointed out that the pace the women were walking is about the same as what many of us call “mall walking.”

Your body responds very positively, very quickly to even small amounts of exercise,” says lead study author Dr. Tim Church. “If you’re sedentary, you’ll see a lot of your greatest gains going from zero to 10 minutes a day.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services disagrees with the 10-minute assessment. They recommend 11 minutes. The department has pointed out that, “approximately 80% of U.S. adults and adolescents are insufficiently active.” But, that 75 minutes of aerobic exercise a week could be a significant improvement.

They don’t mean aerobics in the sense of an organized class. They define aerobic activity as “an activity in which the body’s large muscles move for a sustained amount of time, therefore improving cardiorespiratory fitness.” If your heart rate is elevated for 11 minutes a day, you’re doing well.

Find little ways to bring high intensity or higher intensity exercise into your day and you don’t have to set aside half an hour or an hour... you don’t even have to do the 11 minutes at once,” said Dr. Belinda Permenter of the Univ. of New South Wales.

Exercising more is better, obviously, however, there is no reason to despair if you can’t get a full workout into your schedule. So, if going to the gym or going for a run is not going to be part of your day, don’t worry about workout clothes, just put on some sneakers and get moving!
September 05, 2019
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