For 22 years I worked as an exercise physiologist, so I heard this time and time again (pun intended). I was always perplexed. How could someone not have time for one of the most important aspects of overall well-being? This probably seems like an obvious conclusion from someone whose job title included the word exercise, right? But, research shows that exercise and physical activity are very important for overall health.
One study found older women who were the least active had shorter telomeres (older cells and they are linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer) than those who were the most active. In other words, the less active you are, the faster you age biologically. The good news, this study also showed that those who sat for long periods, but who completed 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week did not have shorter telomeres. This indicates that regular exercise can help negate some of the effects of prolonged sitting.
Another study found that participating in some type of vigorous activity helped to reduce the all-cause mortality. This decrease was seen in both sexes, across all age groups, with people of differing weights, and in people with or without cardiometabolic diseases. By doing some type of vigorous activity, you may be able to increase longevity.
Adults: Get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination), preferably spread throughout the week.
Children and teens: Get at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity on at least 3 days each week.
Moderate exercise equals about 100 steps/minute, like walking very briskly.
Vigorous exercise is any activity that makes you sweat or breathe hard, like jogging at 6mph.
There are many things you can do to add more exercise or activity to your day. Take the stairs, park farther away, walk during your break and lunch or while you wait for your child to finish practice, do squats while cooking dinner, and many more. Anytime you can add more activity to your day, you are helping increase your overall health and well-being.
You do not have to start out by trying to get the recommended amount of exercise all at once, especially if you are not currently doing anything. You can start by adding a 10 minute walk during lunch each weekday and work up to more activity from there. Some people think they need to have 30 minutes to make it worth their while, so they just scrap exercise all together. This is incorrect and it can undermine your efforts to increase your daily activity. Every little bit of exercise or activity you can add to your day will help improve your overall health.
If you do not particularly enjoy exercise, you can check out the American Heart Association’s article: 5 Steps to Loving Exercise … Or At Least Not Hating It to help you. If you are having trouble getting started or sticking with an exercise plan, this article might give you some insight as to why that is: Have you Fallen Off the Resolution Wagon?
With all the benefits of exercise, how can you afford NOT to have time?