Offset Sedentary Behavior With 1 Minute of Vigorous Exercise


If you’re struggling to find the time to move your body, a new study suggests that just a minute of exercise counterbalances up to 14 minutes of inactivity. That means you don’t have run 10 miles after a long day of working on the computer—just 5 minutes of “moderate-vigorous physical activity” can offset an hour of sedentary behavior.

Using cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPETs) and data from fitness wearables worn for a week, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine examined the changes in fitness levels in more than 2,000 participants. The research found the more time people spent on exercise, like walking and running, and less time sitting, the better their overall fitness levels became. Even more impressive, the study found that every minute of heart-rate boosting exercise participants endured equated to about three minutes of walking and counteracted about 1/4 hour of time sitting or standing still.

“By establishing the relationship between different forms of habitual physical activity and detailed fitness measures, we hope that our study will provide important information that can ultimately be used to improve physical fitness and overall health across the life course,” said study co-author and cardiologist Matthew Nayor, MD, MPH.

All those sedentary hours you spend catching up on emails and working in your makeshift home office can be offset with a few minutes of activity each day. Quick-and-dirty exercise, like a vigorous Pilates workout or a speedy core blast, gives your body a much-needed boost.

Additionally, the study found fitness played a role in elevating general physical health. While the methodology studied the ties between physical activity and fitness levels specifically, research along the way found that exercise also helped lower risk of serious health issues, like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer. “Therefore, improved understanding of methods to improve fitness would be expected to have broad implications for improved health,” said Dr. Nayor.

Below, click play on five easy workouts you can do at home when you’re short on time.

Offset a day’s worth of sedentary behavior in minutes with these workouts

1. 5 minute kettlebell core workout

Blast your abs and obliques in just five minutes with this kettlebell core workout. Between the Russian twists, weighted sit-ups, and leg lifts, you’ll be feeling the burn in practically no time at all.

2. 10 minute full body workout

Try this 10 minute workout that works everything from your arms and shoulders to your legs and glutes. Best part is that these bodyweight exercises require little to no equipment.

3. 10 minute dancer arms workout

Typing all day on a computer and answering Slacks don’t exactly do wonders for your arms. If your wrists, biceps, and triceps need some exercise, check out this 10 minute dancer arms workout, inspired by the graceful, toned arms of a real-life ballerinas.

4. 5 minute HIIT workout

When it comes to HIIT, it doesn’t take much to break a sweat. This hardcore HIIT session is just five minutes, but don’t let that fool you—it’s hardcore, packing in all the moves with a quick burst of energy.

5. 10 minute leg and core workout

Your abs, glutes, and thighs will feel the burn during this 10 minute lower body workout. You’ll move through a 10-move series using just your bodyweight for serious results at a fraction of your normal workout time.

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