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A patient recently informed me she had been exercising for the last four days and had not lost a single pound of which she found preposterous. I had to laugh as she had not exercised at all for the last several years and hoped to accomplish a thirty-pound weight change in four days.
I encouraged her to keep it up for the rest of her life and it turns out research reconfirms this. According to the August 2011 Lancet Journal, fifteen minutes per day of moderate to intense activity is the minimal amount needed to reduce mortality risk.
We all know that regular exercise is critically important to keeping you healthy. It helps reduce cardiovascular risk, maintains a healthy weight, improves energy, works to reduce stress, builds muscles and strength, reduces glucose levels, can help prevent cancer and more.
Knowing you can do fifteen minutes per day (which is only half of a typical sitcom) is quite attainable. How many of you sit down on the couch for a few hours of nighttime television or sit in your desk chair cruising the internet? Set aside fifteen minutes every day but be prepared to sweat because research shows it must be moderate to intense physical activity. This means you need to make the most of those minutes.
Am I talking about a stroll around the neighborhood? Or being on your feet all day walking around the office? No.
Here are some suggestions for your fifteen minutes after 2-3 minutes of warm-up:
Jump rope for a minute then rest for a minute alternating.
Rotate 20 squats with 20 push-ups (on your knees is okay) with 20 sit ups. Rest a minute and repeat.
On a treadmill, walk for a minute at an easy incline, walk for 2 minutes at a moderate incline then walk for 3 minutes at a high incline and repeat for fifteen minutes.
On a bike, pedal as fast as you can for 30 seconds then pedal easy for a minute and repeat.
When running in your neighborhood, sprint down the block and walk when crossing the street, then sprint the next block for fifteen minutes.
Hop on the elliptical and go hard for 1 minute then easy for 1 minute and repeat