For many of us, daily visits to the gym don’t fit in the schedule. But that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise.
Researchers recently found you can fit in more exercise just by going about your daily life. They’re calling it “high-intensity incidental physical activity,” or HIIPA.
It includes the things you do every day that require some exertion, even though you aren’t doing them purposely for exercise.
Only about one in four American men and one in five women get recommended amounts of exercise and weight lifting. Thinking about exercise in this new way — by breaking it up into small chunks — can put it within easier reach.
Eyes Off the Clock
As recently as 2008, federal guidelines said that exercise needed to be at least 10 minutes long to count. But in 2018, these scientists concluded that exercise of any length can contribute to your health.
“Even a brief episode of physical activity like climbing up a few flights of stairs counts,” the latest guidelines say. The only requirement is that your heart should beat faster than normal.
The length of each activity may vary from mere seconds, such as walking up a few flights of stairs, to much longer sessions, like mopping your floors or biking to work. What’s most important is that you try to move more and sit less during the day.
The goal is to have this exercise add up to at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. (To understand the difference, consider your exercise to be moderate if you can hold a conversation while you do it and vigorous if you can’t.)
But if you don’t meet those recommendations, you’re still getting the benefits of any exercise you do.
Make It Count
To get the most bang for your buck, the more vigorous the activities are, the greater the benefits. Studies have found that higher intensity activities are associated with a higher life expectancy and lower risk of dying of heart disease. You may be surprised that many activities you’re already doing can be considered vigorous, even if you’re only doing them for a few seconds. Here are some examples:
- Bicycling to Work
- Carrying Groceries or Heavy Boxes Upstairs
- Climbing Stairs
- Playing With Your Kids
- Walking Uphill
For more tips about how to work exercise into your day, click here to read our blog post.
This new research about the value of bite-sized exercise is opening new horizons in achieving the physical activity that’s so important for your whole-person health. Exercise strengthens your body, boosts your mind and can even improve your brain health (click here to read our post about it).
To learn more about how we can help you feel whole, click here.