Do you struggle to find the time to get to the gym or the motivation to make yourself go? It can be a struggle any time of the year, but during the hectic holiday season, it can be even tougher, but you may be able to get the same benefits of working out in literally minutes a day, according to new research.
Getting your heart rate up for just a couple of minutes could significantly lower your risk of dying of heart disease or cancer, a new study suggests. Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia analyzed data from more than 25-thousand U.K. residents who describe themselves as “non-exercisers” over seven years to track their health outcomes. And the research shows that even without going to the gym, some participants got their daily exercise from doing brief, strenuous activities, like running to catch a bus, taking the stairs, or even doing high-energy chores.
Even though the activities only took one or two minutes at a time, the short activities provided similar benefits as structured workouts. Exercise recommendations call for 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity a week, but the study shows:
- As little as four to six minutes a day of vigorous activity - spread out over three sessions - is linked to up to 49% lower risk of dying of heart disease and 40% lower risk of dying from any cause.
- More activity is even better. Up to 11 short sessions of activity a day is linked to 65% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and 49% lower risk of dying from cancer, compared to those who don’t do any vigorous activity.
- The research doesn’t directly show that short bursts of movement cause better health, but it does show a connection.
- “A few very short bouts totaling three to four minutes a day could go a long way,” explains study author Emmanuel Stamatakis. “And there are many daily activities that can be tweaked to raise your heart rate for a minute or so.”