According to the American College of Sports Medicine, in addition to consuming a healthy and balanced diet, all adults should get 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day, five days a week.
To clarify, moderate intensity exercise is any activity that increases a person’s heart rate, such as walking, swimming, bicycling, jumping rope, or dancing.
For some, it’s hard to believe that the standard length of a TV show is enough to keep us healthy. However, if health is what we are looking for or if you are just starting out, 30 minutes is the perfect place to start.
Some of the benefits of getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day include:
· Controlling weight
· Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
· Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
· Reduces risk of some cancers
· Strengthens bones and muscles
· Improves mental health and mood
Thirty minutes a day is an easy goal to remember. If 30 minutes at once seems daunting, break it up into 10-minute segments. The important thing is to incorporate physical activity as a part of your daily routine.
As fitness levels improve, small changes start to appear. We feel better, we have more energy and we might even start to enjoy exercise and therefore we might even want to do more. Which is fantastic! Once you start moving, your body will want more. More, however, does not necessarily have to mean longer times, keep in mind both time and intensity play key roles in how our body perceives and adapts to exercise. For example, increasing the speed of your activity or adding other challenges such as hills or changing up the type of exercise you are doing will help to continue to provide the challenge your body needs!
Different exercises will bring different levels of intensity, the harder you push yourself, the shorter your workout needs to be. For instance, if you plan to do steady state cardio for your daily workout, 30 minutes is a good timeframe. On the other hand, if you decide to blast through a shorter, more advanced run, the shorter workout time can be just as beneficial. The latter is going to get your heart going at a faster rate therefore shorter sessions are adequate. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that one minute of vigorous activity is about the same as two minutes of moderate activity.
It’s also worth noting that the higher the intensity, the longer the after-burn. This means that vigorous exercise will keep your body burning calories for hours after your workout, no extra work required. Even an intense 10 to 15 minute burst of activity can be effective.
Tips for increasing physical activity:
· Take stairs when possible (ditch the elevator!)
· Park your car on the farthest side of the parking lot
· Buy small weights and keep them next to the couch. Get up off the couch and lift weights during commercials!
· Walk around the house while talking on the phone
· Get a stationary bike and pedal away while watching TV
· Rake leaves or work in the garden
All things considered, a 30 minute workout is good for you no matter what. Your ideal workout length depends on many factors, look to create the right balance between intensity and time. In the end, something is better than nothing and something will absolutely help you feel better both inside and out!