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Improve Health in Short Spurts

Are your New Year resolutions already starting to wane? Not getting in the exercise you promised yourself you would do daily? Guess what? You can achieve major health results by exercising in short spurts.

The recommended 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity activity doesn't work for the average person. A study in 2020 showed about 3/4 of adults aged 18 and over weren't active enough. We don't need any new studies to tell us that good health and function comes from exercise. But how much and when?

A study from the UK looked at 25,241 individuals age 40-69. All participants wore accelerometers on their wrists for more than 16 hours a day for a minimum of 3 days a week, including weekends. They found that bursts of (at least) 3 daily bouts lasting 1-2 minutes of vigorous activity were associated with a reduction in mortality.

This does not mean the short bursts were equivalent to getting regular sustained exercise. But it's great to know that brisk stair climbing (we can all do that) or parking the car at the furthest space from the store, or lugging heavy shopping bags, or dancing heartily to a full song on the radio can count as some activity.

Tips you can do at home to get those short bursts in:

  • YouTube has great dance videos or just dance to a song on the radio. Be wild and swing your arms. Dance like no-ones watching. They aren't.

  • Climb your stairs 3 times

  • Get a stretch band and do some upper body arm work. Resistance exercises ensure healthy aging

  • Walk whenever you can

  • Play chase with your dog or kids

  • Gardening is great exercise. Bending, stretching, pulling.


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