Time to move

I’m sure that by now we all know the benefits of keeping moving, getting into, and staying, in a routine and doing the things that make us feel like we have some control over our days.

If you’re struggling to find time to get some movement in your day, here’s some news:  you don’t need to set aside an hour for exercise.  Or even half an hour.  Short bursts of activity through the day, even just 10 minutes at a time, a few times a day, can be just as beneficial as a longer exercise session.

Just as long as the activity is moderate (for example, walking at a brisk pace so that its hard to carry on a conversation) or vigorous (breaking out into a jog) you’ll still get some benefit.

In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health recommends at least 2.5hours of moderate activity or 1.25hours of vigorous activity spread throughout the week.

So whether you decide that’s 3x 50minute moderate sessions a week or 2 or 3x 10min sessions a day, research reinforces that several shorter bouts may provide the same benefits as one continuous exercise session – helping to improve aerobic fitness and weight loss, and even helping to promote better long term exercise adherence as shorter sessions are more tolerable, and sometimes enjoyable, for those who are overweight or previously sedentary.

What might a 10 minute workout look like?  Try these:

  • A brisk walk. It couldn’t be more simple and you can do it anytime, anywhere
  • Other cardio. If you’re lucky enough to have some cardio equipment at home, use that. Or grab a skipping rope.  Skipping for 10 minutes can feel like forever, so even 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off is a good start, or try alternating it with another exercise like step ups or star jumps.
  • Body weight circuit. Try squats, lunges, ice skaters, press ups and a knee drives (starting in downward dog and then moving forward to a press up position bringing one knee to the outside of the same side elbow, alternating sides) for a circuit 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest in between, two times through.

If lack of time has been the thing holding you back from committing to some regular movement, squeeze in some short sessions over the next few days and see how you feel.