Have you noticed how frequent exercise is recommended as a way to stay fit and healthy? Mounting evidence suggests exercise helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, manages current disease states like diabetes or high blood pressure, improves heart health, bone health and cognition, prevents some forms of cancer, lowers the risk of falls, excessive weight gain, and depression, and reduces pain for those with osteoarthritis.
The amount of activity we engage in is more important than the manner in which we perform exercise. A few years ago, the recommendation was a 30-minute session of exercise five days a week. However, the guidelines have slightly changed as newer research emerges.
A study was done on two groups of exercising participants to determine the effect exercise had on their fitness level. One group did continuous exercise for 30 minutes. The other group did three 10-minute sessions throughout the day. It was found that the group that broke up their exercise significantly improved their fitness level just as much as the group that did continuous exercise. Rather than taking a 30-minute exercise session, exercise can be broken down into shorter bouts such as two 15-minute sessions, or three 10-minute sessions. One could take a short walk for 10 minutes in the morning, a 10-minute walk at lunch, and walk or cycle 10 minutes later in the evening. When we accumulate 30 minutes of exercise, we get great health benefits. Accumulating activities can include walking upstairs instead of taking the elevator, walking a short distance rather than driving that distance, pedaling a stationary bike while watching TV, doing housework, raking leaves, gardening, sweeping the deck, or even playing with children. Every activity at the equivalent of a brisk walk, that encourages moving, even in small doses, all count toward the 30 minutes of exercise five days a week recommended by the American Heart Association.
Overall, move more and sit less. It’s not totally the manner but the accumulation that creates the health benefit.
Any exercise including just moving about has been shown to benefit health. Once again ... move frequently through the day.