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Short bursts of exercise can provide many benefits

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A recent study has found that short bursts of exercise, comprised of anything from short walks to chores done in the home, can be just as helpful to maintain a healthy lifestyle as those who go to the gym regularly. These may also include pacing while talking on the phone or picking up the rake instead of the leaf blower.  


Light, low impact exercise can help stave off disorders that can cause cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, said the study, conducted by Bellamire University assistant professor Paul Loprinzi and professor Brad Cardinal at Oregon State University. Loprinzi, lead author of the study, noted that having an overall active lifestyle is the same as having a very structured approach to one’s health and exercise regimen. 


“We encourage people to seek out opportunities to be active when the choice is available,” Loprinzi said. “For example, rather than sitting while talking on the phone, use this opportunity to get in some activity by pacing around while talking.” 


The study surveyed 6,000 participants nationally. It found that 43% of people who participated in short bursts of exercise — or any physical activity — reached the minimum requirement of 30 minutes of daily exercise. Meanwhile, less than 10 per cent of people who went did longer bouts of physical activity complied with that federal exercise requirement. 


Co-author Cardinal, who is an exercise and sport expert, noted that time is the common enemy of those seeking a healthier lifestyle but building in that movement to existing activities and chores is an easy way around that barrier. 


“We are designed by nature as beings who are supposed to move,” Cardinal said. “People get it in their minds, if I don’t get that 30 minutes, I might as well not exercise at all. Our results really challenge that perception and give people meaningful, realistic options for meeting the physical activity guidelines.” 


The study is in the current issue of American Journal of Health Promotion