Exercise is like a magic pill. It does so many good things for your body, mind, and spirit. However, we often come across the question of, “How much exercise do I really need?”
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so clear cut. How much fat you are able to burn, as well as how toned and sculpted you are able to become depend a lot on your metabolism, body shape, current fitness level, height, age, diet, and goals.
If you want to be lean, toned, sculpted, and very fit, you obviously will need to exercise frequently and for long durations.
Sure we’d all like to look and feel this way, but the problem is finding the time, energy, and motivation to actually accomplish this seemingly daunting requirement. Those of you who exercise every day for at least an hour because you can or are paid to do so (or are paying a hefty fee for someone to make you do it!), I respect you. If you’re training correctly and not overdoing it, I suspect you to be a very fit individual.
Now, if working out for an hour or more every day seems overwhelming and even discouraging, there is still good news! Studies have shown that you can improve your health by exercising a lot less, say about 20 minutes a day or 30 minutes every other day. You may not get that magazine cover body, but you can still improve your health. A study in the New England Journal of Medicinereported a study that observed a 30% decrease in cardiovascular risk in women who exercised only 2.5 hours a week. Not bad!
You can also exercise in little segments of 10 minutes or more throughout the day aiming for an overall total of 30-60 minutes.
What it all comes down to is that exercise is very good for you, and a little daily exercise is better than none at all. It really is important enough for you to make time for it.
Source: Thompson, P.D. (2002). Additional steps for cardiovascular health. New England Journal of Medicine, 347 (10), 755-756.