July 26, 2011

Get Results in Ten Minutes a Day!

I have written a great deal about the need for intensity and hard work to obtain fitness results.  I have scoffed at infomercials proclaiming, “Results in ten minutes.”  And now I am going to contradict that to state that you can get results in ten minutes.
Here is the big disclaimer; it depends on what you mean by results.  If you want to lose weight or get a six pack, then sorry, do not delude yourself that ten minutes is enough.  However, if you want to improve your health by decreasing your blood pressure, cholesterol and or blood sugar, then ten minutes a day may be enough.
A great deal of research is showing that small doses of exercise of moderate intensity can go a long way towards improving physical and mental health.  Amazingly enough, even one bout of exercise can decrease blood pressure for several hours in individuals with hypertension.  Even something as simple as standing up every half hour can reduce blood sugar in sedentary individuals.  Low intensity exercise (especially if it is outside) for even five minutes can boost mood and self-esteem.
All of these benefits are attainable without weight loss. The exercise does not have to be intense; walking can get you great health returns.  If the idea of an hour (or even a half hour) of exercise a day is too intimidating to get you off the couch, then focus on just ten minutes.  Ten minutes a day to improve the quality of your life?  How can you resist?

Martin, C.K., et al. 2009. Exercise dose and quality of life: A randomized controlled trial. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169 (3), 269-78

Barton, J., & Pretty, J. 2010. What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis. Environmental Science & Technology. 44 (10), 3947-55.

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