Why To Exercise Today: More Benefits Of The Quickie Activity

This article is more than 8 years old.

Calling all clothing designers: The more I see studies like this, the more I'm convinced there's a mint to be made by the designer who creates a line of office-to-gym clothing, stretchy and breathable but professional-looking outfits that fit in fine at meetings but also function well if you decide to run a mile at lunch. Is this just my pipe-dream? Or does it already exist?

In any case, here's the latest better-short-than-not workout news from BU Today here:

Conventional medical wisdom preaches 150 minutes of exercise a week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more, for sound heart health. But BU-led research recently produced, um, heartening news: meeting that weekly quota with exercise stretches of less than 10 minutes, including everyday activities like cleaning, can keep you trimmer and healthier as well. And for lead researcher Nicole Glazer, that’s welcome news in a nation where being sedentary has become a religion for many.

“When you think about 150 minutes per week, that can seem completely insurmountable,” says Glazer, a School of Medicine assistant professor. “But this study really speaks to the idea that some activity is better than nothing. Parking a little bit farther away, getting off the bus one stop early—all of these little things can add up and are related to a healthier profile.”

Glazer led a team of researchers at BU and other schools, whose paper was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. More than half the 2,109 subjects were overweight, and their average age was 47. The scientists attached accelerometers (motion detectors) to each of them for eight days: 56 percent of the men and 47 percent of the women met their weekly exercise quota. But while some did so with the prescribed 10-or-more-minute exercise sessions, the average subject met the quota with significant amounts of activities that were shorter than 10 minutes. Their exercise ranged from the vigorous (hiking, jogging, sports, shoveling, and farm work) to the moderate (brisk walks, heavy cleaning, and sports like badminton and golf).

The upshot: those who exercised 150 minutes a week, irrespective of the length of their workouts, had smaller waists, lower body mass index, better cholesterol, and lower triglycerides than subjects who didn’t complete the weekly exercise quota.

Readers? I'd just like to editorialize that shoveling for 20 minutes earlier this week didn't leave me with anything like the glow of 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training. But perhaps your experience is different?

This program aired on January 31, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.




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