You might be wondering about the hour-per-day measurement that you've been hearing about for years. It's true; past studies, including a popular study
from 2016, had originally put the daily exercise target at 60 to 75 minutes for mortality benefits. However, that study was based on self-reported data, which this latest study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found to be flawed due to people misremembering their actual activity levels.
Taking a more objective approach, scientists at the Norwegian School of Sports Medicine based their research on the use of activity monitors to track exercise versus sedentary time. The results showed that participants who exercised 35 minutes per day saw the biggest statistical difference on life span. Yet just 11 minutes of moderate exercise — equivalent to a brisk walk — still had a noticeable positive impact. What's more, both time frames were positively impactful, regardless of the amount of sitting.
While 35 minutes of exercise daily is better for your health, a lower barrier to entry makes it easier to get even the most inactive among us moving — and still increasing your life span.
So, how do you do it?
The simplest way is with a walk outside or on the treadmill at your local gym. Walking is one of the best exercises. With winter weather keeping people inside and Covid regulations limiting access to public gyms, though, more creative, accessible means may be necessary to effectively get in your 11 minutes at home. Below are a few ways to consider.
Important note: If you experience pain while performing any of the exercises, stop immediately. Check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
Do 4 sets of a 3-minute body-weight exercise sequence
Four rounds of three minutes add up to 12 minutes, but it's OK — you can handle the bonus minute. Depending on the exercises you use, you may go at a slightly different pace during each round, making it about 11 minutes.
When selecting your exercises, try to pick a sequence of movements that will equate to a full-body workout of moderate effort. For instance, avoid doing only upper-body movements unless you plan to do lower-body movements the next day.
Ideally, do a combo, like the example below, determining the number of repetitions for each exercise based on your fitness level and maintaining a three-minute sequence for the time frame.
Sample three-minute exercise sequence:
- 10 to 25 push-ups
- 25 to 40 body-weight squats
- One minute of jogging in place