Too little time is often an issue that many of us have when it comes to exercise. Given all the things we juggle on a daily basis, exercise usually manages to slip to the bottom of the pile. But here’s the good news… your workouts can be just as effective by splitting them up into smaller increments of time. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently published a Surgeon General report that addressed this very topic. It states that most adults should include at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week and that it can be performed in as little as 10-minute increments to be effective (DHHS, 2010).
A number of research studies have also addressed this issue. They point to the fact that smaller bouts of exercise may actually be more beneficial especially when it comes to promoting long-term adherence to an exercise program (Jakicic, 1995). This makes sense when you think about it because many find longer bouts of exercise difficult, painful, or boring. Breaking the task up into smaller increments certainly makes it seem more attainable and potentially even enjoyable.
If you find yourself struggling to sneak in exercise altogether, check out a couple of my favorite tips below.
Finding enjoyable ways for getting in activity each day can be a very important factor when it comes to exercise. Most of us are unwilling to do things we dislike and visa-versa; when we find an exercise that’s enjoyable, we’re more likely to work it into our busy schedule. So find an activity that interests you and go for it.
Look for ways to be active. Whether that means parking further from a building entrance, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or even leaving your car at home altogether to run an errand in your neighborhood- it all adds up.
Make certain that you treat yourself as well as those around you. Often times our lives are filled with “have to do’s” and deadlines which seem to take the focus off our own needs. Make sure your personal health is up there on your “to do” list. If it means actually scheduling exercise in your calendar, so be it. In the end you’ll feel better knowing that you’ve done something positive for your wellbeing.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), The Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 2010
Jakicic, JM, et al., Prescribing exercise in multiple short bouts versus one continuous bout: effects on adherence, cardiorespiratory fitness and weight loss in overweight women. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, (12), 893-901, Dec 1995.