Getting more physical activity is always a good thing. In fact, the more you can move around, the healthier you’ll be. Multiple studies have proven that daily exercise is crucial for a healthy body—not just your muscles, but your joints, cardiovascular system, digestive tract, even your brain. Any exercise, ranging from light to intense, is excellent for your body. You can see serious health benefits with just a few minutes per day.
The New Rule of Exercise
Before, it was believed that exercise was only really effective if you did a lot of it at once. The former health guidelines emphasized longer workouts, even just two long sessions a week, in order to get in the required exercise. But the new guidelines laid out by the U.S. Department of Health are taking a new approach to fitness. In fact, the guidelines say that ANY physical activity at all, even for just a few minutes at a time, is better than none.
It All Counts!
The misconception that you need to do longer periods of exercise to see benefits has been dispelled in the latest health guidelines. While the former guidelines said exercise only counted toward your weekly goal when done in periods of 10 minutes or more, the new guidelines are changing things up. Now, any exercise you do is going to benefit your body and count toward your recommended weekly minimum of 150 minutes.
We’re Not Meeting Our Goals
The reason behind this change: not enough people are meeting the fitness goals. According to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, only 26% of men and 19% of women have been able to fit in the prescribed 75-150 minutes of vigorous exercise/150-300 minutes of moderate exercise per week. For many people, finding the time to get in so much exercise in large chunks is nearly impossible, thanks to their busy lives. As a result, we’re just not able to meet those weekly goals, and we get discouraged because we can’t even do the minimum.
A Smart New Approach
But changing things up to count all exercise toward your weekly goal ensures that it’s easier to get that workout in. You’ll find it’s much more possible as well: that exercise you do while you clean your house, walk your baby, wash your car, watch TV, or cook dinner counts, just like all the exercise you do at the gym, on the running track, or in the Yoga studio. All that matters is that you move more—whether you fit in a 90-minute workout or a 90-second one, you just need to move more.
Mix it Up!
Just because going to the gym is the simplest and easiest method to getting in your weekly workouts, that doesn’t necessarily make it the best. Many people don’t have the time for a long workout or the money to afford a pricey gym membership. Instead, why not try to find ways to get in a workout no matter what you’re doing. Take your kids or pets to the park and run around with them. Walk or cycle more places, or take the bus to commute to work. Walk up the stars, or park your car at the far end of the parking lot. Do a few minutes of exercise between work calls, while you wait for the meal to cook, or during your lunch break. You don’t have to restrict yourself to just lifting weights or going for a run—mixing things up will ensure that you get in those recommended minutes of exercise every week!