Many people mistakenly believe that exercise needs to be performed at a killer pace for long periods of time to have benefits. Well, there’s good news on the horizon! A recent study published in the well respected medical journal, JAMA, showed that even small amounts of physical activity can have a positive impact on fitness level. How much exercise is needed to see these benefits? In this study, 75 minutes of exercise performed in one week had positive benefits. That’s only a little more than 10 minutes per day.
In the study, which was conducted on women, participants showed an increase in fitness level as measured by peak absolute oxygen consumption as well as a reduction in the circumference of their waists as a result of lower levels of exercise. They didn’t show significant reductions in weight, blood pressure, or cardiac risk factors, suggesting this approach is not ideal for those who have large amounts of weight to lose or who are trying to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you have large amounts of weight to lose, most recent reports suggest an hour of exercise a day is most effective at promoting weight loss. If you have limited time, it’s good to know you can still achieve some benefit from less frequent exercise especially for those who are less motivated to exercise due to fear of overtaxing their bodies and sustaining injuries.
What does this mean for you? If you haven’t exercised before and you don’t want to initiate a full blown exercise routine, consider adding a fifteen minute brisk walk to your daily routine five days a week. This should be enough to increase your fitness level and, potentially, decrease your waist circumference. Reducing your waist circumference has been shown to help prevent the development of diabetes which is becoming more and more common in this country and can have a major impact on your health.
It’s great to know you really can get positive benefits from lower levels of exercise. Why not add some short workouts to your daily routine and give your fitness level a boost?