No Time to Exercise? Try Small Bursts of Movement Instead

No Time to Exercise? Try Small Bursts of Movement Instead
Fitness woman jumping outdoor in urban environment

( – Who has the space to commit to multiple lengthy workouts every week? We have busy schedules to keep, bills to pay, meals to prep. Every minute is precious, and finding even a small chunk of time that hasn’t been accounted for is like striking gold. We all know we need to exercise if we want to stay at our best, but we have other priorities, too.

Getting enough movement throughout the day may not require the lengthy sessions we’ve been led to believe we need for real results. We might be able to get regular exercise benefits by moving in small bursts throughout the day. Here’s what we know.

Meeting Weekly Recommendations

The American Heart Association recommends that we get at least 150 minutes each week of moderate exercise. This type of movement includes brisk walking, water aerobics, dancing, gardening and biking slower than 10 miles per hour.

We can also meet our weekly aerobic exercise challenge with 75 minutes of vigorous movement — running, hiking uphill, heavy yard work, bicycling faster than 10 miles per hour or doing any other activity that leaves us out of breath. A combination of moderate and vigorous exertion is just as effective. In addition to the aerobic exercise, experts advise strength training at least twice per week.

Up until recently, experts also recommended that each exercise session lasted for a minimum of 10 minutes. The idea was that the cardiovascular system needed to be pushed for an extended period for the person to benefit, although there was no real scientific basis to this assumption.

A Little Can Add Up

New research suggests we can reap the rewards of regular exercise even if we do so in piecemeal. However we break up our workout sessions, as long as we get in our weekly minimum, we’re benefitting our hearts and lungs. According to the CDC, any movement is better than none, and no matter how we break it up, we’re improving our health every time we choose to move around rather than sit.

When we consider all the opportunities we have in between all our busy moments, we find getting those 150 minutes each week isn’t really that hard. Forbes offers some great ideas to get started:

  • Choose to walk or ride a bicycle whenever possible.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Walk at a brisk pace to get the heart pumping, even if it’s for a minute or two.
  • Engage actively in housework.
  • Dance or do jumping jacks during idle moments.

Numerous super-short workout videos are also available, which we can do here and there as the time opens up. Try, for example, this 5-minute cardio workout for beginners:

People looking for a higher intensity challenge might want to check out this 5-minute cardio HIIT workout:

Exercising effectively doesn’t need to take huge chunks of time. A few minutes here and there can add up quickly, and the benefits could be just as great. It’s a small adjustment to our routines, and the payoff could be well worth it.

~ Here’s To Your Healthiest Life!

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