The Bare Minimum

If you’re trying to convince your significant other that they need to change their lifestyle, sometimes the hardest thing is just to get them started. You’re sure that once they get going, they’ll feel so good they’ll want to continue, but making those first steps off the couch are always the hardest. The first question they may be asking you is “how much do I actually have to exercise?”, or really, “what’s the bare minimum I need to do in order to be healthy?” Well, I have good news; it may be less than you think!

Epidemiological evidence has shown that it actually takes a minimal amount of moderate exercise to reduce your risk of chronic disease and all-cause mortality (dying for any reason in a given period of time).  There were several major studies done to look at the relationship between physical activity and chronic disease which found that as little as 2-4 hours a week of moderate activity can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality by up to 40%! That’s only 30 minutes a day of moderate activity 4-5 times per week.

You might be wondering what actually counts as “moderate activity.” Don’t worry; it doesn’t involve running a 6 minute mile or gasping for air. Think more along the lines of a brisk walk.  Any continuous exercise that involves most major muscle groups and elevates your heart rate to about 120-140 bpm counts as moderate exercise. The exercise should be hard enough that you feel a little breathless, but you can still talk to someone walking next to you.

What’s even better is that this 30 minutes you’re supposed to get in 5 times a week doesn’t even need to be in one exercise bout. You can walk 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening and still get the same disease-preventing benefits! So, the next time your significant other is complaining about how much work it is to get healthy, all you need to tell him (or her) is that just a quick walk before work and a walk after dinner is all they need to do!



One response to this post.

  1. It IS good to know that you can still get good effects from exercise even if you can’t exercise all at once. Sometimes all we have is 15 minutes at a time, but that’s OK! Thanks for your post.


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