Have you noticed that the days you have too many household chores you feel too tired, even though you never stepped out?
Experts now believe that ANY movement we make is good – it adds to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity that doctors suggest for a healthy body and mind. So, could it be true that all those steps we take during the day – be it to walk the dog or walk that extra distance because we couldn’t find a closer parking spot for the car affect our fitness levels on the whole?
This new study done by researchers at University of Utah gathered their data through National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is a research program that aims to track the health of a diverse selection of American adults and children.
And the findings have made people with a busy schedule very happy indeed! Until now, activities like walking the dog, climbing a flight of stairs or stepping out to buy groceries was never accounted for as an ‘aerobic activity’, which would promote better health.
The reason was that these activities weren’t long enough; most requiring fewer than 10 minutes and hence didn’t quality as ‘exercise’.
However, this new research has proven that while one may need a minimum of two and half hour of exercise a week to achieve a lower BMI or to lose weight, getting that minute by minute and not at a stretch is just as fine.
What makes these findings so crucial?
According to Dr. Fan, who headed the research, any exercise will work towards weight loss or weight management. High intensity workouts essentially mean moving with a little more pep, enough to get your heart rate going. No one said that one needs to try sprinting or race walking to lose weight.
But then most people assume that ambling down the sidewalk is not going to help them lose weight, so they don’t even attempt to do that either. It is important for people to understand that any activity – be it moderately intense or high intensity, will help them lose weight and improve their health, so it is important to try and do whatever possible.
And that is the most important message here. “I think it’s easier for people to process that message,” Fan says. “Otherwise, if they don’t have a block of time they might be discouraged, and they don’t do anything.”
Today time is precious, and the fact that so many people have an “all or nothing” approach makes matters worse.
For many, the thought that they don’t have an hour to spare for the gym or cannot make time in their busy schedule for a morning jog discourages them from trying anything at all. ‘Lack of time’ is an excuse that all too often keeps people from doing any sort of physical activity.
You find people reluctant to walk down a single flight of stairs because they can just as easily take the lift, or driving to buy groceries at a store that is just 2 minutes away rather walking the short distance.
And this study is crucial because it identifies why that belief is inaccurate.
Putting ideas in to practice
Here are some ideas that put the findings of this study in to practice:
- Clean the house energetically while listening to peppy music.
- Wash and wax your car.
- Take the stairs at least once a day and forgo the lift.
- Chop up veggies, wash dishes or stir batter by hand instead of using electric appliances.
- Get off the bus or train before your stop and walk that extra distance.
- Park your car further away at work every day, so you walk a little extra
- Play with your kids or walk the dog an extra block.
Remember – Every step you take counts. So rather than grumbling that you couldn’t find a closer parking slot at the shopping mall, you should be rather thankful!
Related Article: Walking vs. Running: Which One Is A Better Workout?