You probably already know that regular exercise is important for good health.
You might have also heard that the gold standard is 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Although this is still true, there’s good news if you’re one of the many people who find it difficult to squeeze that amount of exercise into your weekly schedule. According to a recent study, getting even 11 minutes of moderate physical activity per day has major benefits for your health.
Some Moderate Exercise Is Better Than None
The study, which appeared in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that people who accumulated just 75 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week — which could be broken down to just 11 minutes per day — have a 23 percent lower risk of premature death. What’s more, people who get 75 minutes of physical activity per week have a 17 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke, and a 7 percent lower risk of cancer.
Experts still recommend building your way to 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week, or 30 minutes per day, five days per week. Doing this not only helps if you want to lose weight but leads to a 31 percent lower risk of dying early, as well as a 29 percent lower chance of dying from cardiovascular disease and 15 percent lower risk of cancer. However, the authors noted that getting half of this amount could prevent 10 percent of premature deaths. The bottom line? Some exercise is far better than none.
Think Outside the Box
When looking for ways to get at least 11 minutes of moderate exercise per day, it helps to remember that there are many different ways to be active; it doesn’t have to be traditional activities like running or going to the gym. Anywhere you can fit in some physical activity counts. Ideas include:
- Park farther away from the door for extra steps when you go to the store.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator when possible.
- Sneak in exercise while you watch your favorite shows: walk or jog in place, do yoga, lift weights or walk on a treadmill.
- If you spend a lot of time on the phone, walk while you talk instead of sitting down during the call.
- Go for quick evening or morning walks. Bring your dog, a family member or a friend for company.
- Walk or bike to work or to run errands.
- Play with your kids or grandkids: run around the yard, have a dance party or play active games.
- Spend time gardening.
Doing activities with friends or family members can also make exercise more fun and give you the motivation you need to make it a habit. However you choose to exercise, if you’re not used to it, remember to start slowly and gradually work your way up to higher levels of physical activity.