Imagine if someone told you that if you don’t eat at least 5 times a day and have a properly-balanced diet, there is no point in eating at all. You would probably think that such a person is nuts. Yet, many people think that way when it comes to exercising; that if they don’t follow a strict exercise plan, they should not bother at all. Well, to put it mildly, that’s not exactly right. Read on.
How much exercise do you need?
Almost any physician will tell you that any exercise is better than none. But should you need more precise information, the general mantra is described by the numbers 75/150. This means that you should be doing at least 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Vigorous activity comprises anything that makes you breathe hard and fast such as running, fast swimming, playing football, or walking up the stairs. The easiest way to determine if you are exercising at this intensity is when you can’t say more than a few words without pausing for breath. Moderate activity will make you breathe faster to a point that you can talk, yet singing would be a problem. Such activity includes swift walking, dancing, hiking, or rollerblading.
Even irregular exercise helps
The good thing about this 75/150 business is that now scientists have found that it doesn’t matter if you achieve this goal by having long exercise sessions once or twice a week or if you do some short exercises daily. Of course, laying on the couch all week, eating chips, and watching Netflix doesn’t really help you get up to speed when running on the weekend, so you might consider the latter option. Also, it’s always better to adjust the intensity of your physical activity to your overall fitness so that you won’t end up completely immobile after your Saturday bicycle trip in the mountains.
Do your homework(out)
Now you might say that this all sounds nice but exercise actually requires a considerably larger time investment when the trip to the gym is taken into account. Yes, but what about not going to the gym at all and working out directly from your living room? You can try the increasingly popular HIIT (short for high-intensity interval training). Just search for “HIIT workout at home” on Youtube. And if HIIT doesn’t suit you for some reason, look for something more general like “workout at home”, or even specify the amount of time you want to exercise – 10, 15, or 20 minutes. It’s only a few clicks away and you can start exercising without a gym and without any expensive equipment, saving time and money.
Do you live at the office? No problem.
And if exercising from home isn’t an option because your demanding job requires that you spend most of the time at the office, don’t worry either. Have you considered taking a ten-minute jog during your lunch break, which will still give you 20 minutes to catch your breath and eat lunch? Or you can cycle to work, or even run if it’s not too far. And if it is too far, then you might park your car a few blocks away from your office or get out of public transport a stop or two earlier and walk the rest of the way. You can also exercise directly at your desk as it is hard to imagine that you can’t find time for a few squats even in your busy schedule. And don’t mind if your colleagues raise their eyebrows – they’ll get used to it and maybe they’ll join you one day.
Why the heck should you be doing it?
See, doing your small amount of exercise is far from impossible. All it takes is a little motivation. Naturally, for people wanting to get slimmer or build their muscles, motivation is always at hand. But what about the rest of us? We all know that physical activity may greatly reduce the risk of heart attack, cancer, and other deadly illnesses and thus help us live longer. Yet, there are other benefits such as better sleep, feeling happier, and being more productive. And the best thing is that if you don’t overdo it at the beginning, it doesn’t have any drawbacks. Do you know anybody who started being more active and told you that he/she is actually feeling worse?