Exercise: Just 150 Minutes a Week!
For the average person, fitting in 4-5 workouts a week can be challenging to say the least. Between work, home life, and all the other things we have to do in a day, there's very little time to set aside for a proper gym session. When problems arise, the workout is the first thing to go.
The Problem with Busy Lives
One of the main problems with being so busy is that we have a hard time keeping up with fitness efforts. You can't cut work to go to the gym, and your lunch break is the only moment of sanity and calm you get in the day. When you get home to your family, you are non-stop moving around until you fall into bed exhausted. Sound familiar? If so, you're one of the busy working professionals who is having a hard time trying to find the time to work out.
The Good News: You Don't Have to Do It Every Day
According to a new study from the University of Sydney
, there's no need to work out every day. This may come as a massive shock, but the truth is that working out a certain amount of minutes per week is more important than minutes per day. Even if you're a "weekend warrior" or an occasional gymgoer, the amount of time you put in per week is more important than the time per day.
The Australian scientists analyzed health data for more than 60,000 people in the country. They found that active adults had a 30% lower mortality rate than adults who didn't exercise. But here's the kicker: the adults who exercised only twice per week had the same reduced mortality rate as the adults who exercised five or more days per week. The number of days per week exercised didn't matter—the minutes per week was the most important factor.
How Long Per Day/Week?
The researchers found that the optimum amount of exercise per week was 150 minutes, as recommended by the U.S. and Australian governments. However, whether the participants divided it into 5 days of 30 minutes or 2 days of 75 minutes, the results remained the same. Mortality rate was decreased by 30% as a result of those 150 minutes of exercise. In fact, the amount of exercise required was cut in half when the participants did VIGOROUS rather than moderate exercise. With just 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (HIIT training, sprint training, high intensity resistance training, etc.), the mortality rate decreased.
The Solution to a Busy Life
If you're too busy to hit the gym every day, don't sweat it! All that matters is that you get those 2 ½ hours of moderate exercise per week. If that means you work out for 40 minutes 4 days per week, 15 minutes every week day and 90 minutes on the weekend, or 2 ½ solid hours on the weekend, so be it. All that matters is that you fit in your 150 minutes per week. Do that, and your mortality rate will drop by 30%.
Health, Not Fitness
Be warned, the above study focused on the health of the participants, not their fitness level. Those who did daily exercise ended up with a lower mortality rate, but their overall fitness (strength, endurance, and flexibility) was never tested. It goes without saying that daily exercise is the only way to improve your fitness. If you want to be a truly fit and healthy person, a couple of weekly exercise sessions won't be enough. However, it will be enough to improve your health.