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Give a Little; Get a Lot?

Filed Under: Men's Health at 1:51 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
WalkersResearchers in Belfast recently reported that just 30 minutes of walking 3 times a week can help lower blood pressure, decrease waist and hip measurements and improve overall fitness. Fabulous!! Now you can cut out all the trips to the gym and needless sweating. Heck, only 30 minutes? You don’t have to DO anything, anymore. All those trips to the bathroom during work, plus the walk to and from the car and all the other mindless steps you take throughout the day, must add up to half an hour. How could they not? So, you’re in the clear. You can go home, flop down on the couch, turn on the TV, do nothing and be one hundred percent, physically fit . . . or not. I hate to burst your bubble, but despite what the headlines imply, that’s not what the study is saying. 

Yes, it was proven that individuals who added 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week to their otherwise sedentary lifestyle did show health improvements similar to those who began exercising for 30 minutes five times a week. And those improvements were considerably higher than those who did nothing. However, this does not give you license to cut down your exercise to an hour and a half a week or to assume that your meander through the grocery store counts towards the time clock. Thirty minutes three times a week is a way to ease individuals into the idea of exercise. It shows that even those who think they don’t have enough time to work out can improve their health with just a little change to their daily routine. But, that’s the minimum.

Experts say that you should start with three times a week, working towards more. The same goes for time. Start at 30 minutes and work up to 60.  And while there is nothing wrong with breaking up your exercise into multiple, shorter blocks, they need to be at least ten minutes in length.  Meaning, the bathroom breaks don’t count. You do actually have to work to work out. And with that in mind, be aware of what type of exercise you are doing. There is a difference between intense and moderate exercise. If you’re doing something moderate, such as walking, you need to do more than if you were doing something like jogging. The American College of Sports Medicine also recommends incorporating strength training exercises into your routine twice a week.  It’s not difficult to improve your health with exercise, but it does take effort. Remember that and you’ll be on your way to a healthier, more active life.

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