Being physically active is one of the most important steps that people of all ages can take to improve their health. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend that ‘Every adult should accumulate at least 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity exercise on most, preferably all days of the week.’
So for all those who have been using lack of time as an excuse, remember 30 minutes = just 3% of your day! And it is enough to set the ball rolling and result in numerous health benefits.
‘Exercise is a form of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and performed with the goal of improving health or fitness.’
There is ample evidence stating the beneficial effects of exercise on physical and psychosocial health.
- It plays a vital role in not just management of several diseases but also in the prevention of various ailments.
- It has been shown that participating in 30 minutes of exercise, albeit regularly, reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, colon cancer, and breast cancer and lowers risk of premature death.
- Exercise also has a positive effect on mental health as it elevates mood and lowers risk of depression.
- Exercise leads to an increase in blood flow to muscles which in turn results in an increased capacity for activity. Specific adaptations occur in the cardiovascular, muscular and respiratory systems which allow the body to use oxygen more efficiently, and improve overall heart health. This can be termed as the ‘training effect’ that is seen with regular exercise.
Additionally, exercise is a key determinant of energy expenditure, i.e. it increases the amount of calories you burn while exercising as well as in resting state (increase in the Basal Metabolic Rate), and thus is fundamental to energy balance and weight control.
Half an hour of daily exercise proves to be a preliminary step as it results in adaptations in most of the body systems that in the long-term translate into a healthier, fitter and stronger body.
The bottom line is that some exercise is better than none! Choose a sport that is enjoyable and appealing to you so that you’re more likely to adhere to it. Being consistent is key, as long-lasting health specific benefits can only be gained when you are regular. Engaging in just 30 minutes of exercise will leave you amazed at the body’s ability to change shape, size and functional capacity. Yes! Staying fit is that simple and achievable…30 MINUTES IS ALL IT TAKES!
If you’ve been convinced about investing your minutes in exercise, but are wondering where and how to start, here are a few activities and exercises that will help you set out on the road to fitness. Remember to incorporate at least a 5-10 minute of warm-up and cool down. This prepares the body and lowers the risk of injuries.