We’ve all heard we should get 150 minutes of exercise a week. If you aren’t hitting this, you aren’t alone – over 80% of Americans aren’t getting the doctor-recommended amounts of exercise. And here’s some good news: you, of all people, are going to get the most out of every single minute of activity you do. Here are some tips to help get moving towards this goal:
1. Start out small
Almost no one goes from zero exercise to high-intensity interval training overnight and makes it stick. The key is simply to start small and work your way up slowly. What’s important is that you get there eventually instead of going too hard too fast and giving up.
2. Break it down
Instead of doing it all at once, try breaking it down into small chunks. You can complete the recommended 150 minutes by doing 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week. Short on long chunks of time? Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can't fit in one 30-minute walk during the day, try a few five-minute walks instead.
3. Don’t just look at the scale
Even if the number on the scale isn’t going down, you are still getting major health benefits from completing activities. Research shows that aerobic exercise is the most efficient form of exercise for improving measures of cardiometabolic health, including insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and blood pressure.
4. Think of the benefits
Exercise is one of those things that somehow has even more benefits than you think. It helps your brain, your muscles, your skeleton, your heart, your blood vessels, and your lungs. Getting exercise helps you sleep better, breathe better, and staves off all manner of diseases, from Alzheimer’s to diabetes. It also prevents older people from falling, reduces anxiety and depression, and lowers your risk of all kinds of cancers.
5. More = better
Are the weekly recommendations easy to complete? Try to do more! Greater amounts of exercise will provide even greater health benefits. You can also up the intensity of your exercise for even greater gains - vigorous activities, like running and aerobic dancing, give your body the same benefits as moderate activities in half the time
Exercising improves almost every aspect of your life. Hopefully, that’s reason enough to get moving. If it seems too difficult, just remember that you are not alone. While more = better, avoid getting overwhelmed by doing what you can. Remember, getting some physical activity is always better than getting none.