Do you have limited access to a workout gym? Are gym fees just too expensive? Do you find the typical workout plan too long and boring? Is 30 minutes a day just too much time to set aside for exercise?
You’re in luck.
A new study by researchers at Oregon State University indicates that small amounts of physical activity throughout your day can be just as beneficial to your health as longer bouts of physical exercise. And the small amounts of activity can be just one to two minute increments that add up to 30 minutes a day.
According to the researchers, “an active lifestyle approach, as opposed to structured exercise, may be just as beneficial in improving health outcomes, including preventing metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.” This is their conclusion after studying 6,000 American adults.
What may be more important is that 43% of the people who participated in “short bouts” of physical activity met the activity guidelines of 30 minutes a day. In comparison, only 10% of the participants of the longer bouts of structured exercise routines met the 30 minute per day guideline. In other words, it is easier for people to exercise 30 minutes each day by being physically active in short intervals throughout the day, rather than exercising for 30 minutes in one, long session.
What’s even better, is that you can incorporate these short bouts of activity into your daily routine. You can do things like
- Standing up and pacing while talking on the phone
- Walk to deliver a message rather than using email or phoning
- Walk up stairs rather than using the elevator or escalator
- Do some simple exercises while commercials are on TV
- Get up and get your own refreshments rather than asking someone else to do it for you
- Cut your grass with a push lawnmower
- Sweep your driveway with a broom rather than an air blower
- Walk short distances rather than driving
- Vacuum more often
I think that you get the idea.
The health benefits of the shorter bouts of activity compared well with the longer bouts of a structured exercise routine. For example, 89% of the people who met the 30 minute guideline with short bouts of activity did not develop metabolic syndrome, compared to 87% of the people using the structured exercise approach. “Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke,” according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
The one drawback with the shorter activity intervals is that it did not help people lose weight.
In general, however, you can stay healthy by incorporating short periods of easy physical activities throughout your daily routine, as long as it totals at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity. In the long run, you are more likely to stick with this easy workout plan, and you will be healthier.
Oregon State University:
"Taking Stairs, Raking Leaves May Equal a Trip to the Gym"
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:
"What Is Metabolic Syndrome?"