Sometimes the thought of trying to live a healthier lifestyle seems so difficult, expensive and time consuming, leaving you feeling exhausted before you even begin. However, what many may not know is that it only takes as little as 20 minutes a day simply walking around the block to start to reap incredible health benefits.
Let us show you how you can gain so much for your health from even just a little movement, and how to get started!
A Little Can Mean A Lot
Gretchen Reynolds, who writes the New York Times’“Phys Ed” column, shares that “...at least 20 minutes a day makes a truly profound difference in your health and dramatically reduces the risk of a whole host of diseases, particularly diabetes, heart disease and dementia, as well as cancer.”
Exercising doesn’t have to mean getting all geared up and going to a gym or class for hours or using a heap of equipment… just the thought of preparing all that can be off-putting! Simply put on some comfortable clothes and start doing something active. If you can go for a walk around the block or squeeze in a quick yoga routine before breakfast, you will receive so many physiological benefits!
You don’t even have to call it exercise. It could be a gentle walk that you take in your lunch break or reminding yourself to get up and move a few times throughout the day so you’re not sitting down the whole time. Switch to taking the stairs instead of the elevator or try walking or standing for certain work tasks if you’re really pressed for time.
If you can get into a good routine and do your preferred movement each day, you will start to feel better after only a few days and you can reduce your risk by about 20% for diabetes, heart disease, dementia, cancer and premature death of all types.
Researchers at the University of Georgia found that people who were sedentary for most of the day but were otherwise healthy reported feeling less fatigued and more energized after engaging in as little as 20 minutes of low-to-moderate aerobic exercise, three days a week for six consecutive weeks.
Adding yoga, the ancient mind-body practice more than 5,000 years old, to your daily routine will do more than just burn calories and tone muscles. This strengthening routine combining stretches, breathwork and meditation can see you balance out stress levels, reduce blood pressure and prevent illness in a total mind-body healing work out.
Growing evidence also suggests that low volume, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) stimulates physiological remodeling comparable with moderate-intensity continuous training but with far less time needed and less total exercise volume. Typically, this type of training comprises multiple bouts of alternating high intensity exercise and low intensity recovery, practiced three times per week. Possibly because of the brevity of these intense workouts, recent evidence suggests that HIIT is perceived as more enjoyable than moderate continuous exercise… so you don’t have to run a marathon and you don’t need to sacrifice hours and hours from your schedule to see results.
HIIT has also been shown to significantly improve insulin sensitivity, boost fat loss, and increase muscle growth as well as give a natural boost to the essential human growth hormone (HGH) production. It’s possible to improve your insulin sensitivity by nearly 25 percent by just spending one hour a month on exercise! Imagine what you can achieve for your health if you dedicated 20 mins every day.
Where To Start, What To Do?
Many of us know we should exercise yet still we don’t! Possibly the biggest barrier is the perceived time and effort needed to decide on what to do and how to do it. Once in a routine, maintaining the routine becomes second nature; you just need to get started with something manageable to break the barrier.
We’ve found that having a plan and a group of people supporting you is the best way to start a positive routine. Start small, see positive results and you will become more and more motivated to expand your health journey.
Some Ideas To Get Moving More
- Incorporate more walking into your day. This could be taking the stairs, parking further away from your destination, going outside for your lunch break or setting aside a small amount of time in the morning or evening to walk around the block.
- Follow online videos of yoga or HIIT routines to exercise at home.
- Stand up and walk around when you’re on the phone or folding the washing.
- Book 20-minute movement breaks into your calendar or schedule and treat them like your most important meeting that you cannot bump or ignore.
- Do some stretches and yoga poses while you wait for the kettle to boil for your next cup of herbal tea.
We encourage you to take a look at all the amazing short exercise resources inside FMTV.
If you’re looking for a great way to kick-start or re-start your health journey consider our 21-Day guided program that encompasses nutrition, movement and mindset for a complete health transformation. Day-by-day we give you meal plans, shopping lists, recipe videos, supplement recommendations and exercise videos. Our aim is to empower you, motivate you and support you through this exciting transformational phase in your life. You can do the program at your own speed or alongside like-minded people across the world who support each other inside the FMTV group.