Even if you are having a hard time fitting in 30-45 minutes of exercise (which is what I have been dealing with lately)...get at least some! That is what I have been doing. Getting 10-15 minutes here and there. Running up and down my stairs, grabbing the hand weights, doing crunches, push-ups, whatever!
It all counts!
Make it a great day!
Exercise: The Least You Can Do
Imagine if exercising 10 minutes a day were enough to improve your health, cheer you up, and help you maintain a steady weight. Well, it is, even though most experts stubbornly insist that you need 30 to 60 minutes daily to see results. The case for shorter sessions has been building for some time, but earlier this year results from a watershed study made the point loud and clear.
Researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, reported findings from a study involving 464 women who weren't exercisers. After six months, a group who walked an average of 72 minutes a week at two to three mph—that's about 10 minutes of mall-pace striding a day—had significantly improved heart strength and general fitness, nearly matching the efforts of women exercising almost twice as long. "Your body responds very positively, very quickly to even small amounts of exercise," says lead study author Tim Church, MD, PhD. "If you're sedentary, you'll see a lot of your greatest gains going from zero to 10 minutes a day."
More exercise is definitely better, but based on Church's findings and the studies below, there's evidence you can take your time easing into those longer workouts.
A seven-week study of 22 couch potatoes found that those who did just one set of 10 repetitions of seven strength-training moves (about 10 minutes of lifting) three days a week gained as much strength as those who did a 30-minute, three-set routine.
Boost your mood
In a recent study of 48 men and women, spinning on a bike for 10 minutes led to a mood lift and drop in depression and fatigue—similar to what they'd get riding three times as long.
Protect your joints
After tracking nearly 4,000 women in their 70s for three years, researchers found that those who reported of having arthritis pain needed only 75 minutes a week of moderate exercise like brisk walking to reduce the frequency of symptoms by nearly 30 percent.
Manage your weight
Both Church's study and a larger study of 13,711 men and women reveal that just 70 to 75 minutes of brisk walking or about 40 minutes of jogging a week is enough to begin shrinking your waistline. And targeting the waist is important because belly fat is directly tied to heart disease, diabetes, and early death.
"We've seen significant changes in the autonomic nervous system—fewer incidences of the fight-or-flight stress reflex being triggered—with even 70 to 75 minutes a week of exercise," says Church. "A little exercise can do much more than people think, so there's no excuse for not getting up and just doing something."