It’s still no excuse to slack off, but after all of the hubbub about how much daily exercise we need there is growing evidence that just 15 minutes a day can reap amazing health benefits.
Current health recommendations call for adults and children to do at least 150 minutes, or a total of 1.5 hours, of physical activity weekly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually recommends two or more days a week should be dedicated to working all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
We all know that regular exercise is a critical part of staying healthy and it promotes mental well-being. People who are active live longer and feel better.
Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. It can delay or prevent diabetes, some cancers and heart problems, according to the CDC.
Most fitness guidelines, including the World Health Organization, recommend that adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days per week.
Examples include walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming for recreation or bicycling. Stretching and weight training can also strengthen the body and improve one’s overall fitness level.
However, a new study released this week by the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan says just half of the recommended 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference.
The study is available online starting Monday in The Lancet.
Just 15 minutes of physical activity a day can substantially reduce your risk of death by 14 percent and increase your life expectancy by three years, the new study suggests.
Breaking it down, this is about 105 minutes a week.
Researchers say that east Asians, including China, Japan and Taiwan are generally less physically active than their Western counterparts and their workouts tend to be less intense.
“In Taiwan, if inactive individuals engage in low-volume daily exercise, one in six deaths could be postponed,” says Dr. Chi-Pang Wen of the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan.
Researchers say if the minimum amount of exercise is adhered to, mortality from heart disease, diabetes and cancer could be reduced.
“This low volume of physical activity could play a central part in the global war against non-communicable diseases, reducing medical costs and health disparities," Wen said about the study.
This new information basically confirms the fact that even short bursts of exercise during the day can reduce an individual's risk of dying from preventable health risks.
The study is all about encouraging more individuals to include a small amount of physical activity into a busy schedule. Researchers said it is also about becoming more active for those who have a sedentary lifestyle and work environment.
If finding time to exercise during a busy week is difficult, people must rearrange their days to get this short dose of health. Start slow and gradually build up, researchers said.
About 416,000 Taiwanese adults participated in the study. They were asked how much exercise they did the previous month. Based on their answers, they were put into five groups of varying activity levels from inactive to highly active. Researchers kept track of their progress for eight years on average and calculated projected life expectancy.
Other fitness experts say finding time during the day to read the Bible, meditate, and reflect will also add to an improved state of mental well-being.
“Use this short fifteen minutes to exercise and talk to God at the same time. Forget about the bouncy music at times,” said Jennifer Simmons, a YMCA fitness instructor in New Orleans, La.
“When you are cooling down from your exercise routine, which should include some kind of movement to bring the heart rate up, you can reflect, take deep breaths and relax for a few minutes.”
Simmons said after moving your body, sit down and drink a glass or two of water and read the Bible.
“It is a perfect cool down routine,” she said.
“All of this should equal out to about 40 to 45 minutes or so of your day. If someone is too busy to take this short time out for themselves and God – they really are way too busy. Not carving out time for ourselves and God is just plain unhealthy for our spiritual and physical lives.”
Lancet Journal Online: Lancet journal: http://www.thelancet.com
Bible Study Resources: http://bibleresources.bible.com/bible_read.php
U.S. guidelines: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html
WHO guidelines: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_recommendations/en/index.html