So last week I asked how much you should workout per week. Now this is a wide topic and varies greatly. But what is the minimum amount of exercise per week needed to receive health benefits?
There is data that shows if you exceed 60 minutes of intense exercise a day you actually increase your risk of mortality. Strenuous exercise over a prolonged time can actually causes inflammation in the body. So what is the sweet spot? Where we can receive the benefits from exercise and movement but not crossover into too much exercise that may be damaging.
The recommendation for exercising has been 150 minutes per week or 75 minutes of very intense, rigorous exercise per week. To some this sounds great but to others it sounds like another stressors to try to find time to fit this into their busy schedule.
Do you have to actually set aside a time to exercise every day? Or is there certain movements we can do throughout the day that counts as exercise? We were not made to be sedentary which unfortunately is what a lot of jobs are now. Sitting can actually calls low back pain. So by sitting all day your glutes become inactivated. Your psoas muscle (hip flexors) become short and tight. This can pull on your low back and cause lower back pain.
For individuals who are not competitive athletes there is actually good news. Brief high intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions with some combined strength training spread throughout the day can actually give you major health benefits. Research shows that HIIT done for just four minutes a day can actually increase your mitochondrial cells. All you would have to do is 20 seconds full out, all you got, and 10 seconds off. You repeat this for four minutes. Of course you add a warm-up and a cool down so in total we’re talking less than 10 minutes.
So for those of you that don’t like the whole formal exercise thing this is a great option. Another great option would be get outside and play some kind of sport such as soccer, tennis, or ride your bike. Then just throw a couple weight training sessions into the mix a couple of times a week. Cross training your body is the best form of exercise. I know as a female you get hit with a lot of cardio which is great for your heart health but then you miss out on all the benefits of strength training your muscles. So add some variety into your workout.
The best option would be to work out throughout today. Get some weights or kettlebells at your job and every 30 minutes take a break and do a couple squats, kettlebell swings, climb the stairs, or go walk outside in the sunshine during your break. The point is to try to move throughout your day instead of just sitting. Then you don’t have to worry at the beginning or end of the day and stress yourself out about getting up earlier or staying up late to work out.