How Much Exercise Do You Really Need a Day?
Guest Blog Post by Fitness Blogger Annabelle Smyth
In many ways, exercise is the panacea for several physical ailments, illnesses, and conditions. Your doctor would likely be the first to tell you that by incorporating regular exercise into your routine, you can prevent several chronic illnesses and lessen the effects of several others. But how much of your routine do you need to dedicate to exercise to get these effects?
Time seems to be what holds many people back from incorporating exercise into their routine. This is largely due to what people see in the media – bodybuilders or other athletes who talk about their dedication to the gym, or marathon runners who talk about their lengthy runs. You don’t have that kind of time in your schedule, so you dismiss the idea of regular exercise altogether.
But the benefits of regular exercise are more attainable than you think.
Mounting evidence suggests that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym or running miles and miles to see improvements in your health from exercise. On the contrary, regular people just like you can begin making positive changes and reap the benefits of regular exercise by finding just 5-10 minutes throughout the day to move your body.
The current recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services for exercise is at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity, like walking or other light cardio, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, like running or higher-intensity cardio. That’s only 30 minutes, 5 days a week of walking. Or 10 minutes of walking in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes in the evening. If necessary, you could even break it down to six 5-minute sessions, as long as you made those 5 minutes count.
The Department of Health and Human Services also recommends strength training twice a week or more for each major muscle group. So keeping a set of weights under your desk or next to your couch can help you remember to add some resistance to your routine, even while you work or watch TV.
Once you are consistently getting enough exercise in your routine, some of the benefits you’ll see include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower body fat
- Lower blood triglycerides
- Better ability to quit smoking
- Increased endorphins
- More energy
- Better sleep
- Stabilized blood sugar
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or run marathons to see these improvements. The key is consistency. Once you have developed the habit, you may find it enjoyable to get that sweat in, and decide on your own to spend more time at the gym or engaged in a particular sport or form of exercise. But to get started, keep it simple and consistent.
So, where do you start? How do you start? It’s simple: add movement into your daily activities. For example, you could get your morning 10 minute walk in by parking at the back of the parking lot at work and walking an extra lap or two around the building before going in. Keep small weights at your desk and do a few sets during lunch, or do some body-weight exercises such as squats or arm circles.
Walk a few laps around the building before walking back to your car after work. And that’s it. That’s your start. However, it must be noted that your walking pace must be intense enough for you to notice a change in your breathing and heart rate. If it doesn’t feel like work, you probably need to pick up the pace a bit.
For more tips on improving your health or to add more components of healthy living to your life, check out ASEA.
About the Author
Annabelle Smyth is a freelance writer located in Salt Lake City, Utah. She enjoys writing about leadership, entrepreneurship, health and fitness, and personal productivity. When not writing and educating herself, you can find her hiking the canyons with her dog and friends. Find her on Facebook & Twitter.