Every Step Counts: Why Even 5 Minutes of Physical Activity Matter

by | Sep 9, 2019

For millions of years our ancestors ran, crouched, swam, and climbed through their native terrain. Imagine, if our genes could speak, what they might say about our excessively sedentary lifestyles now. What might our bodies tell us about our habits if they could speak? What if our bodies are speaking to us about the consequences of our choices? Well, some people have been listening and what we know about physical activity is hopeful.

It Still Counts

Most of us know to some degree that exercise is good for us. However, it is common to find yourself at the end of the workday feeling fatigued and hungry, and staring down the barrel of your exercise routine you make the typical deferment. Would 5 or 10 minutes of some physical activity even be worth anything? Actually, the answer is YES!

A study from the University of Utah reports that even brief bouts of physical activity dispersed throughout the day make a difference. “Taking the stairs, parking at the far end of the lot, and walking to the store or between errands are choices that can add up and can make a positive health difference,” the researcher says. Each daily minute of higher intensity activity offsets approximately .41lbs and lowers the odds of obesity by 5% for women and 2% for men. [1]

What About A Weekend Warrior?

If you’re a weekend warrior and think that your two days of exercise might not make the cut, think again. Another recent study of 64,000 adults published in JAMA Internal Medicine[2] reported that even exercising 1 or 2 days a week for 150 min of moderate activity or 75 min of vigorous activity could reduce mortality risk by 30% compared to inactive adults! This is especially true in case of cardiovascular disease.

The old adage that “every step counts” is spot on. Don’t underestimate the power of spare minutes to improve your health. Try doing calf raises when you brush your teeth, jumping jacks while the water reaches a boil, or squats when you’re waiting for your Lyft to arrive. Life may be hectic and work relentless, but if you don’t have your health…

Written by: Emily Arnold, LMT

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

[1] Archive.unews.utah.edu. (2019). Move It and Lose It: Every ‘Brisk’ Minute Counts | University of Utah News. [online] Available at: https://archive.unews.utah.edu/news_releases/move-it-and-lose-it-every-brisk-minute-counts/.

[2]. O’Donovan G, Lee I, Hamer M, Stamatakis E. Association of “Weekend Warrior” and Other Leisure Time Physical Activity Patterns With Risks for All-Cause, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(3):335–342. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.8014

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