Squeezing in Time to Exercise Each Day

It’s not always easy to stick to a consistent exercise schedule each week with work, kids, school and extracurricular activities — who wants to spend an hour exercising after a long day of all that!? There is an answer; however, that can help you fit a healthy dose of exercise into your busy schedule.

How Much Exercise Do You Need

First of all, you need to know how much exercise you actually need. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that kids engage in 60 minutes of exercise per day and adults at least 30 minutes-a-day, most days of the week. Bear in mind that this is a minimum amount of exercise the CDC recommends; they actually suggest you exercise five or more hours per week, or an hour-a-day at least five days-per-week. Additionally, the type of exercise recommended by the CDC is labeled as moderate aerobic exercise (i.e., brisk walk, jog, recreational biking, etc…).

But who has time to exercise for 60 or more minutes per day? The answer to this problem is to exercise less but at a higher intensity. In other words, you can get the same, or close to it, health benefit by exercising for 30 minutes at a high intensity than you would exercising for 60 minutes at a moderate pace, according to the CDC. Similarly, you can exercise for 15 minutes — not including stretching, warm-up or cool-down — at a high intensity level to reach the CDC’s recommended daily amount.

High Intensity Interval Training

One effective way to boost your workout intensity is to try high intensity interval training, or HIIT. According to doctors at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB), HIIT actually burns more calories and improves your cardiovascular health much more efficiently than moderate aerobic activity. Other studies have suggested that interval training may help you too burn fat more efficiently than most other exercises because the added intensity forces your body to burn fat for fuel.

I’ll be going into more detail about high intensity interval training in future posts; however, it basically works by using a rest interval and a work interval completed in succession with no long rests in between — they key is to keep your heart rate up. A sample HIIT program includes jogging for one minute followed immediately by a one minute sprint — this cycle is then repeated several times without resting.

Benefits of Exercise

The point is that you need to find 15 to 30 minutes per day to exercise — that’s not too much to ask. The health benefits are seemingly endless. Here’s a short list:

  • reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • weight loss
  • increased energy / metabolism
  • reduced risk of obesity-related disease
  • stronger bones
  • improvement in joint pain
  • and many more…

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