IS IT OK TO BREAK UP YOUR FITNESS ROUTINE?
By Heather Maloney
For many of us, the problem isn’t whether we want to start exercising, it’s about finding the time. With work, family, school, and numerous other commitments, fitting in even a half-hour to exercise may seem impossible.
But here’s the good news: most research now suggests that you don’t need to carve out that one big block of time.
“You can break up your exercise into small chunks and still get the benefit,” says Dr. George Blackburn, Director of the Center for the Study of Nutrition and Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Going for a brisk walk three times a day for 10 minutes is just as good as one 30-minute walk. Today’s lifestyle is so busy, people think ‘there’s no way I can fit in a 30-minute walk,’” he says. “But a 10-minute walk seems much more manageable. It’s just important to do it regularly.”
Several organizations, including the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine, agree. Both groups recommend moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on most (and preferably all) days of the week.
And it’s not just about losing those few extra pounds. Dr. Blackburn stresses that exercise is key to a person’s overall health, and it needs to be a priority. “We have significant evidence that longevity and disease prevention are related to physical fitness,” he says. “In fact, sedentary people have nearly twice the mortality of a person who’s regularly active.”
“We also know that mood increases with fitness. And you can’t have a successful weight control program without physical fitness,” he continues. “The return is huge.”
Dr. Blackburn reminds us that with spring in full swing, it is the ideal time to start walking. “Everyone can fit in a 10-minute walk,” he says. “And those who regularly do 30 minutes of walking find they feel so good that they want to do more.”
Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.