Everyone knows the benefits of exercise, we read about it, listen to podcasts about it, hear the experts talk about it, but do we do it? Most of us do not, in fact only 54% of Americans get their 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week and even fewer, 24% squeeze in the two recommended strength workouts. Why? Because if you listen to the experts from the CDC, it is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of “moderate intensity” exercise each week OR 75 minutes of vigorous exercise like running. Plus, they recommend strengthening activities such as weightlifting at least 2 days per week. So, when do we go to work, sleep, eat, etc.?
It is a fact, vigorous exercise helps your body adapt better than moderate exercise does, leading to more notable benefits, however, how do we fit all of this into our already full dance card? Hang on, great news! A new study published in the European Heart Journal found that 8 minutes a day (instead of 30 minutes) for a total of 54 minutes of vigorous exercise per week provides the most bang for your buck. The researchers found this also lowered the risk of early death from any cause by 36% and your chances of getting heart disease by 35%. A tough, short workout improves blood pressure, shrinks artery-clogging plaques, and boosts your overall fitness!
Whew, finally, someone with good news! That said, at the end of the day, it does not absolve you of all sins. What this study tells us is what we already know, our bodies need to keep moving, vigorously, not just a leisurely walk. My challenge for you is to explain why you can’t fit 8 minutes into your daily routine. It isn’t just going to be good for your physical health, but it will also improve your mental health, make you feel good, and help you sleep better! Try 2-minute bouts of heart-pumping activity throughout the day, getting your heart pumping at 77% or more of your max heart rate. Too complicated? Bottom line, if you are breathing hard enough that it is difficult to have a conversation or speak in a full sentence while doing activity, you are in the zone! Stay informed and stay well!