We all know that physical activity is good for us. A 2007 report from the World Health Organization stated that physical activity is the single most effective means for individuals to influence their own health and ability to maintain a high quality of life. In fact, a study published in The Lancet found that inactive people who increase their physical activity by just 15 minutes a day can reduce their risk of premature death by 14% and increase their life expectancy by 3 years.
The great news, found during a controlled study at the University of Wisconsin, is that you don't have to get all of your exercise in one go. That study found that doing 3 ten minute bouts of moderate intensity physical activity throughout the day is just as effective as doing 1 thirty minute bout. For instance, you could set your alarm clock 10 minutes earlier than you normally get up and spend those 10 minutes taking a short walk or doing jumping jacks. Then take a 10 minute walk on your lunch hour at work, and another 10 minute walk or 10 minutes of jumping jacks when you get home. That's 30 minutes of physical activity without drastically altering your schedule!
Another great way to fit in your physical activity is to combine it with family or social time. Instead of watching TV with your family after dinner, why not head outside and play frisbee? Try not to throw it to each other - the more you have to run to catch it, the more fun you'll have! A walk after dinner is also a great way to catch up with your family's day. Talk to your kids and your significant other about how their day went, what they learned, and how their friends are doing.
Like to hit Happy Hour with your friends or meet for coffee after dinner? Why not meet in the park instead and spend that time walking and chatting with each other. Find some activity that everyone enjoys or learn a new hobby. Take a pole dancing class with your girlfriends or try hula hooping.
Remember that increasing physical activity is one of the best ways to ensure a long and healthy life for you, your family, and your friends. So whether you take one 30 minute walk, or three 10 minute bouts of physical activity every day, just get out there and start already!