While we all know we should be more active, do you know that the benefits of physical activity are seen in as little as 10 minutes?
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends two and a half hours of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which can be done in segments of 10 minutes or more. This does not mean that we should stop making choices to be active during shorter amounts of time (for example, please continue to take the stairs instead of the elevator, even if it takes less than 10 minutes). However, it does mean the benefits of physical activity that we often hear about (such as longer life and lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes) are seen when we are moderate to vigorously active for periods of 10 minutes or longer.
Activity is classified as “moderate” when it increases your heart rate and breathing, but still allows you to carry on a conversation. Activity is “vigorous” when your heart rate is more rapid and you can only say a few words without stopping to breathe.
While the vigorous activity may be difficult to include during the workday, there are several ways you can increase your physical activity while at work.
- Walk around or pace back and forth while making phone calls
- Take a brisk walk during breaks or at lunch
- Have standing or walking meeting
- Do simple desk exercises
- Take time to stretch and do exercises like yoga
You can also make your after-work hours more active with these ideas.
- Leave your car at home and use alternate forms of transportation such as walking, biking, and taking the bus
- Take an after dinner walk with your significant other
- Play catch or Frisbee with your children
- Do yard work like raking leaves, shoveling snow, or mowing the grass
- Walk your dog
- Play on a sports team with friends
- Do exercises during the commercial breaks in your favorite television programs
These were just some of the many things you can do in 10 minutes or more for a more active life.
What are some of your favorite ways to be active throughout the day?
Shelly is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who helps people who want to show up fully in their lives. She helps them trust their own bodies to tell them what, when and how much to eat so that clients can live the life they love while enjoying all the foods they love. You can learn more at ConfidentNutritionNow.com.Shelly Najjar, MPH, RDN