I often hear from others that they
can’t won’t exercise unless they have at least an hour in their day to do so. They say things like, “I don’t feel like I’m doing anything if I workout for less time,” or “It’s not worth it.” Well I’m here to tell you that you are and it is.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity per week. This time recommendation decreases to 75 minutes per week if aerobic activity is more intense. Strength exercises are also suggested at least twice per week, and health benefits will increase should you choose to do more.
But wedged between these recommendations is a highlighted purple box. It states: 10 Minutes at a time is fine. This means you still benefit from 10 minute workouts over the course of the week, and that it’s not necessary to carve out a whole hour and dump the workout all together if you can’t manage that time.
One study done at the University of New Hampshire in 2006 compared adults who exercised 30 minutes per day, 4 times per week for 12 weeks (continuous) with those who exercised 15 minutes twice per day, 4 times per week for 12 weeks (intermittent). While the two groups had relatively comparable overall health benefits, the interval group actually had a greater improvement in cholesterol levels. Equivalent benefits were also seen when comparing similar groups of children; both children who exercised in larger time chunks and those who exercised sporadically had improved risk factors for cardiovascular disease (smaller waistline, better cholesterol, and improved blood pressure).
Another study performed at the University of Arizona showed that intermittent intervals of 10 minute exercise periods throughout the week yielded significantly improved blood pressure among individuals when compared to no exercise at all. Extensive additional research supports these findings.
So now we have to deal with the other issue: wanting exercise to provide benefits you can see and feel (i.e- weight loss, toning, smaller waistline, feeling sore). Well, you’re in luck! These things stick around even when you break up your exercise routines. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done just a 10 minute video and been SO sore the next day! Standing Abs and ballet legs are 2 of my most notable workouts for this.
What does this mean? That there is no reason to NOT fit in at least 10 minutes each day. If you kick up your intensity and pick it up to 11 minutes each day, you’ve already reached the CDC recommendations. Crazy, huh? I guarantee you will feel better doing something than nothing. Because doing nothing is the worst!
Keep this in mind through the next couple of weeks. I know it’s a busy time of year, but we can always make room for exercise.
On an unrelated note, my next post will be my 100th post! It’s very exciting for me, and I’m so happy with how this blog has turned out. It’s been a great venue for me and hopefully a worthwhile resource for all of you. If you have a chance, send me an email or drop a comment with good/funny/motivational fitness stories and I’ll see what I can do about compiling them for my 100th post celebration. Happy Thursday!