CORVALLIS, Ore. – A study from Oregon State University shows health benefits of small amounts of activity – even one- and two-minute increments that add up to 30 minutes a day – can be just as beneficial as gym workouts.
OSU Professor of exercise and sport science Brad Cardinal is co-author of the study, which is in the current issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Rather than sitting while talking on the phone, experts say pacing around while talking can be good exercise.
Cardinal said instead of driving half a mile, try biking or walking the same distance. Or use a push lawn mower instead of a gas-powered one. Instead of sitting through TV commercials, try doing some sit-ups, push-ups, or jumping jacks during commercial breaks.
Researchers found that 43 percent of those who participated in the “short bouts” of exercise met physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes day. Less than 10 percent of those in the longer workouts met the same federal guidelines for exercise.
“You hear that less than 10 percent of Americans exercise and it gives the perception that people are lazy,” Cardinal said. “Our research shows that more than 40 percent of adults achieved the exercise guidelines, by making movement a way of life.”
Building movement into everyday activities can have meaningful benefits – especially for those who say a lack of time prevents them from working out.
“This is a more natural way to exercise, just to walk more and move around a bit more,” Cardinal said. “We are designed by nature as beings who are supposed to move. People get it in their minds, 'if I don’t get that 30 minutes, I might as well not exercise at all.' Our results really challenge that perception and give people meaningful, realistic options for meeting the physical activity guidelines."