August 10, 2011
Last Updated:
March 4, 2021

Why exercise doesn’t have to be a marathon

Fitting in exercise can be a real chore. Between work, family time, errands, and social lives, there's often little time left over for sleep, let alone for the gym.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults get 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate activity every week. For some of us, that's almost hilariously impractical. If only there were 36 hours in everyday.

There's good news, though! According to a study reported on in TIME, even small amounts of exercise can improve heart health.

The study concluded that those who did manage to work in the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week had a 14% lower risk of heart disease than those who did not exercise at all.

When they compared the group who got the recommended exercise to those who only got 75 minutes of exercise, they found the less-exercised participants still had a 14% lower heart disease risk. That's just three 25-minute brisk walks a week!

Of course, more was better. At higher levels of activity (300 minutes and more), the risk of heart disease continued to drop. It's great to know, though, that you don't have to devote 5 hours of your exercise routine to reap the rewards!

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So be creative - find small gaps in your day for your heart-fortifying activity. Here are a few ideas:

  • Speed walk to and from lunch.
  • Park in the back of the lot.
  • Do jumping jacks during commercial breaks.
  • Put on some music and dance while you cook or clean.
  • Chase your kids!

    And take the stairs! Here's a fun video that uses a very creative method to incentivize people into taking the stairs instead of the escalator.

    How do you fit in your exercise?

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