The thought of joining a gym can be daunting. All those machines, weights, classes, it’s enough to make your head spin. Many people who want to be more active are discouraged because they think that exercising is expensive or more extreme than they can handle. It turns out, what workout you do isn’t nearly as important; you just have to get out there and move!
Get The Most From Your Workout
One of the largest global studies on the heart health benefits of physical activity revealed that just 150 minutes spent exercising per week could cut a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and death. One of the most impressive discoveries, however, is that it doesn’t matter what kind of workout you are doing!
“I would dispel the notion of having to put out money to be active,” said Dr. Scott Lear, the study lead author and a professor at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences in Canada, in an email. “Our findings indicate that non-recreational activity — work, housework, active transportation — is just as beneficial in reducing the risk for premature death and heart disease.”
The researchers tracked the exercise levels of more than 130,000 adults living in 17 high, low, and middle income countries, from Canada to China. They also tracked the rate of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, and all-cause mortality.
Following the participants for an average of 7 years, they found those who reported at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week were much healthier than their more sedentary counterparts. These participants were less likely to have heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease, and less likely to die from any cause. Getting only two and a half hours of weekly exercise was associated with a 28% reduction in premature death, and a 20% reduction in heart disease.
So how hard is it to get in 2.5 hours of physical activity in a week? Turns out, it’s not that hard.
Easy Weekly Workout
Getting in 2.5 hours of exercise in 7 days is not as hard as you may think. Here are some easy ways you can fit in some physical activity during your day.
Take A Walk
One of the easiest ways to get in some movement is by walking. Maybe try taking half an hour of your lunch break and going for a walk. It will help with your digestion, and it’s a low impact, minimal effort way to get in some exercise. Can’t take half an hour? Then get up every chance you get! Skip the phone calls and emails and take little walks around your office. You’d be surprised how it adds up.
Don’t Take The Easy Way
One of the easiest ways to get in some exercise is to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalators. If you’re on a ridiculously high floor or your physical activity level isn’t that high, stop a few floors short from yours and walk up the rest of the way.
Take 5 minutes every hour at work to do some light exercise, like jumping jacks, air squats, lunges, you name it! After an 8 hour workday, you’ll have gotten 40 minutes of exercise right at your desk.
Park and Walk
If you can’t walk to work and need to drive, try parking farther than you usually would. You’ll get a quick little walk in at the start and end of your day. Another idea is walking to get lunch instead of driving. You can ‘walkpool’ and get to know the neighborhood around your workplace with your colleagues!
Just Don’t Stay Still!
More and more evidence is coming out that we need to be active to stave off an early death, but we are getting more and more sedentary than previous generations. No matter what you do, the best thing for your health is to get out of that chair, off that couch and just take a walk. It might just save your life.