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Why Short Bursts Of Exercise Are Good For You

Why Short Bursts Of Exercise Are Good For You

The latest guidelines by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say that physically able adults should aim for 150 minutes of exercise every week - a combination of both cardio and strength training spread throughout the week. This could translate into 30-minute workouts 5 days a week, but there are other ways to get your exercise that don’t take up quite as much time every day.

Research has shown that actually taking shorter periods of activity can be spread out throughout your day to meet the recommended total. Actually, sometimes quicker workouts can be better for you than one longer workout. 

Short bursts of exercise, or ‘exercise snacks’ can reduce health risks and benefit your heart and brain, and can help lead to quicker weight loss. This is because when you engage in shorter bursts of activity, like a 10 minute workout, 2-3 times a day, you elevate your heart rate each time. This can help to reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of metabolic disorders. Short bursts of exercise can also help to boost your concentration, memory and your overall mood.

HIIT workouts are a great way to incorporate short bursts of high-intensity movement that get your heart rate elevated. A study in 2017 showed that many people, while willing and knowing of the many benefits of exercise, don't actually have the time available to workout regularly for longer periods of time. Shorter, high-intensity workouts like HIIT can help to provide the same, or better benefits than longer periods of exercise - it actually can help you to lose more weight than longer periods of less intense exercise. 

Going from being inactive to active, or even just moderately active, can reduce your risk of premature death by 72% also. And in addition to physical benefits, you can also improve your mental health.

High intensity means that you should be working out hard enough that you can’t talk or sing while you’re working out - this is called the ‘talk test’. If you’re able to talk and sing, that counts as light exercise. If you can talk, but not sing, that’s moderate exercise, and if you can’t talk or sing along to your music, that’s working out vigorously. 

Going to the gym first thing in the morning or after a long day can be hard, and you can be more likely to not push yourself if you’re tired, if you’re low on energy and short on time, you won’t see the benefits of exercise as much. But, most people have a few moments of downtime in our busy days - perfect to fit in a quick workout.

Perhaps you could wake up a little earlier, and use that extra time to fit in a high-intensity workout, just for 10 minutes. Or you could fit a workout in your lunch break, or even during the workday if you work from home and are able to. If you find a few different periods during the day to get active, you’ll be able to meet that 30-minute goal super easily. 

Making a plan to help you stay on track can also help you to meet your daily exercise goals easily. Schedule in those 10 minutes of movement 3 times a day, and put it in your calendar or set an alarm to remind you. If you stick to the time, you’ll be more consistent and you’ll see results a lot quicker. 

If you’re the sort of person who says they never have time to workout - try exercise snacking today. To help you out, this week our class focus is on shorter, sweeter, and sweaty yoga practices - which you can get done in less than an hour and still see all the benefits of a longer practice.

By Amy Cavill

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