For decades, doctors have suggested that 30 minutes of exercise per day could be the cure-all to help you thrive throughout your entire life. And they aren’t wrong. Federal guidelines actually advocate for around 150 minutes of aerobic exercise weekly to sustain a healthy lifestyle. This averages out to about 30 minutes per day, five days per week.
But the pandemic has further highlighted the need for movement in our everyday life. While routines have changed drastically since in-office work was the norm, less physical activity has been trending, especially with that work-from-home lifestyle.
Why is movement important?
More time sitting at a desk or feeling overwhelmed with all of the changes can really act against the exercise you’ve been getting. Not to mention the added stress does require more activity to combat any inflammation that occurs inside the body.
Movement is the best preventative medicine, as the body’s systems regulate better with more movement and agility. Regular exercise is scientifically proven to prevent heart attacks, strokes, obesity, cancers, diabetes, and more. Exercise raises your heart rate, triggering energy production and regulation. It also releases endorphins into your body that are necessary for coping with pain and stress throughout the day. Not only this, but movement helps to keep your weight and lung function at manageable levels, helping you to function better in every aspect of your life.
More movement is often encouraged when energy levels are a concern. Are you incorporating regular movement into your everyday activity? Exercise of any type raises energy-boosting neurotransmitters to the brain and is known to directly increase productivity. Whether you’re using cortisol-conscious movement like yoga or Thai chi, or learning more about your body’s limits through weight lifting, cardio, or leisure activity, make sure to get moving for a bare minimum of 20 minutes per day, 3 days per week.
What the research says
With advancements in health research in the last couple of years, it has become obvious that the amount of sitting we are doing is counterproductive to our health. Not only are many of us sedentary at work or school for 8 or more hours per day, but there is also sitting at mealtime, watching tv or engaging in screen time of any sort, watching sports, enjoying entertainment, and much more. Then, hopefully, we are all getting about 8 hours of sleep per night. In fact, all of the sitting we are doing is taking a toll on our bodies similar to if we all smoked cigarettes regularly.
New research combined results from six studies profiling over 130,000 adults across Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom over the course of 4-14 years. 30 minutes of exercise helped to reduce the risk of early death by 80% in adults who sat for 7 hours per day.
For those of us who find ourselves sitting for more than the assumed 7 or so hours per day (Whoops!), more movement is definitely necessary to reap any health benefits. If you’re spending between 11 and 12 hours per day sitting — as many of us are — 30 minutes of exercise per day will only reduce that same risk by 30%. It is suggested, instead, to incorporate light activities like cleaning, gardening, crafting, or commuting in addition to your exercise. People who sit more should be getting closer to an hour of exercise per day.
Some simple ways to help reduce your blood pressure include getting regular exercise (about 150 minutes per week, and especially cortisol-conscious workouts), limiting the amount of alcohol you consume, eliminating any smoking or second-hand smoking habits, and incorporating mindfulness into your routine.
More movement is also connected to the development of better sleep habits and health. People who get 8 hours of sleep and have a regulated circadian rhythm are less likely to develop diabetes, cancers, and other inflammatory diseases. It also helps to reduce agitation, increase mood and memory capabilities, as well as enhance productivity. Simple movements like dancing can help heal trauma in your body, as well as help you live longer. Here is a simple 3-move exercise that is highly effective at burning fat. As always, speak with your health practitioner if your lifestyle and health are a concern.