I just ran across this article online that talks about some new studies that talk about how much exercise you really need to do to significantly increase the chances of having a longer better life. What it found is pretty encouraging. You don’t need to do hours upon hours of exercise per week in order to see a benefit. The largest gains were seen for people who exercised about an hour per day. (Just over 400 minutes per week). Any amount of exercise beyond this (even up to 1,000 or more minutes of exercise per week) didn’t move the needle beyond 400 minutes per week. But if an hour per day seems like too much, don’t despair. The benefits of 1 hour per day were really only slightly higher than those of people who exercised just 150 minutes per week. And the study indicates that virtually any amount of exercise improves your chances over people who are completely sedentary. And these benefits happened regardless of whether or not the people doing them lost any weight.
And you don’t even need to exercise that hard to get the benefits. In fact, one of the new studies shows that moderate exercise is nearly as good as vigorous exercise in improving longevity. Adding some vigorous exercise gives a slight bump, but you get plenty of benefits from simply walking, dancing around, gardening or other low impact, potentially low velocity activities. So you can really get an awful lot of benefit from just including 30 minutes of gentle exercise per day to your daily activities. This video covers a lot of this information. (TW: Obesity is briefly risked as a risk factor and as having negative consequences when mixed with sedentary).
Let me be clear here. Exercise is not morally superior to any other activity. (Nor does everybody need or want to hear graphic details about every moment of your run or other form of exercise). Nobody is morally required to exercise. But for those who are seeking ways to extend and improve their lives exercise is one of many effective steps they can choose to take. They can also choose to practice mindful meditation, or engage in other enjoyable activities that help reduce their stress levels, find ways to get more and better sleep and spend quality time in social activities if they want to. But the good news here, for folks who are specifically interested in engaging in exercise in order to gain health benefits is they don’t have to do a whole lot or do it at a very intense level to enjoy those benefits.
Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)