Even the smallest bouts of exercise can boost health!
Regular exercise is beneficial for blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, energy, mood, sleep and even the quality and quantity of your sex life. Yet many people can’t carve out the time for regular sessions, while others fret over how much time they need to spend or the level of intensity. Research from the American Heart Association suggests that what is most important is just doing something. Every little bit matters, even if it is broken-up throughout the day. Data from a US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey running from 2003 to 2006 showed people who spent the shortest amount of time in moderate or vigorous activity — 20 minutes or less daily — had the highest risk of dying during the follow-up period. Those with least an hour of moderate or vigorous activity cut that risk in half, and those who got at least 100 minutes a day cut their death risk by 76%. The interesting point is the 100 minutes didn’t need to be in one go, with even short bursts of activity at different points in the day adding up to reduced risk.
This reflects the findings of another study from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, which again found gradual accumulation of “incidental exercise” can contribute to cardiovascular fitness levels. So, don’t underestimate the value of little ‘activity bouts’. Simply by accumulating two or three minutes of physical activity here and there across the day, we can make a real difference to our health. Some incidental exercise ideas.
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