Five Reasons that a Little Exercise Goes a Long Way

If you are confused or discouraged by recent press on how much and how often you need to exercise, don’t be.   Countless sources confirm that moving your body – even a little bit – can have dramatic health benefits.  So if you aren’t exercising currently, just start. 

And if you are exercising, keep up the good work.  Over time, you can add intensity or intervals, or even extend your workout. A little can go a long way whether you are starting or adding on.  If weight loss is your primary goal, it may take a little longer to lose when you start slowly, but if you want to keep weight off, researchers say exercise is the way to go.

Five Good Reasons to Exercise – Even a Little Bit:

  • JUST STANDING CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT: A recent New York Times article  reviewing the pros and cons of exercise, cited a yet to be published study by Barry Braun, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  Braun and his colleagues asked volunteers to spend an entire day sitting. On a separate occasion, Braun asked the same volunteers to stand for the entire day – nothing more.  According to Braun, the difference was remarkable.  It seems that standing, for both men and women, burned “hundreds of calories” but did not ignite hunger. The conclusion, Braun says is that if you want to lose weight, you don’t necessarily have to go for a long run, “just get rid of your chair.”
  • PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN: Two experts, Joseph Donnelly, Ed.D., FACSM, and John Jakicic, Ph.D., FACSM, at a 2010 American College of Sports Medicine’s  Health & Fitness seminar noted that exercise is a key component of obesity prevention and reduction. Donnelly says exercise is especially useful for preventing weight gain from ever happening. Exercising 30 to 60 minutes per day burns 200 to 600 calories – enough to prevent weight gain and to promote weight loss. Excessive amounts of activity aren’t necessary. (View full article here)
  • REDUCE ANXIETY: In a study appearing in the Feb. 22 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers analyzed the results of 40 randomized clinical trials involving nearly 3,000 patients with a variety of medical conditions. They found that, on average, patients who exercised regularly reported a 20 percent reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to those who did not exercise. (Read more here)
  • FEEL HAPPIER, LESS DEPRESSED: In yet another study, Jasper Smits, director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas says, “Exercise has been shown to have tremendous benefits for mental health. Exercise can fill the gap for people who can’t receive traditional therapies because of cost or lack of access, or who don’t want to because of the perceived social stigma associated with these treatments,” he says. He added that, “After just 25 minutes, your mood improves, you are less stressed, you have more energy — and you’ll be motivated to exercise again tomorrow. A bad mood is no longer a barrier to exercise; it is the very reason to exercise.” (Read more here)
  • FIGHT CANCER AND OTHER DISEASES: There are many studies that cite exercise as a way to ward off disease.  And recently, the American Cancer Society recommended that  women can reduce their risk of breast cancer with 45 to 60 minutes of physical activity five or more days a week. Another study from the Women’s Health Initiative stated that as little as 1.25 to 2.5 hours per week of brisk walking reduced a woman’s risk by 18%. Walking 10 hours a week reduced the risk a little more. (Get more details)

So what are you waiting for?  Okay, maybe you need a note from the doctor, but otherwise, get moving – every little bit counts!

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Date: Wednesday, 21. April 2010 21:49
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