As the slow fitness phenomenon continues to gain worldwide traction, so have shorter, less frequent workouts as a large new study concluded that just 150 minutes of exercise per week, (30 minutes over five days) can help you live longer.
And those 30 minutes don’t have to spent on a spinning bike or treadmill – walking or even just cleaning your house is sufficient: “Our findings indicate that non-recreational activity—work, housework, active transportation—is just as beneficial in reducing the risk for premature death and heart disease,” says lead study author, Scott Lear.
So, should you tell your spinning instructor to suck it? Not necessarily. Two mental health experts chatted to Mind Body Green about the benefits of dedicated exercise:
It’s a stress reducer and an endorphin producer.
While some movement is better than none at all, integrative neurologist Dr. Ilene Ruhoy says that housework can’t replace dedicated exercise: “I think the point of the research showing how little you have to do is to suggest we should not become sedentary beings just because we have televisions and computers,” she explains. “But in reality, we need to challenge the muscles, nerves, heart, and lungs. Evolutionarily, we were meant to run, bend, reach, jump, and climb.”
She adds that getting the heart rate up with vigorous exercise can greatly reduce stress and produce endorphins like nothing else. “Beyond that, we can choose to make it a time with friends or make it time for solitude,” she says. ” We can choose a sport or workout that we enjoy rather than the mundane chores we have to do.
It’s the declaration of self-love.
Previous generations suppressed their problems with caffeine and nicotine addictions, but modern millennials prioritize their mental, spiritual and physical health with a little thing called self-care.
And as psychotherapist Nathalie Theodore says, exercise is one of the most effective forms of self-care, “The endorphin boost helps improve mood, and it’s a great way to de-stress from the aggravations of everyday life,” she says. “Exercise is also very empowering. Oftentimes, people start an exercise regime and are surprised at what they’re capable of achieving. This can be a great boost for self-esteem and can empower someone to make other positive changes in their lives.”
She adds that exercise as a way to build a strong community has endless benefits – like the people you look forward to seeing at your aforementioned 6 a.m. cycling class. “Exercise can provide a social outlet and sense of community. Running with a group or joining a yoga studio are great ways to connect with friends and meet new people.”
Bottom line: get moving.
Take the stairs where possible and try get up every two hours to stretch your legs if you sit at a desk all day. Most of all, get regular, heart-pumping, body-bending exercise to power up your metabolism, flood your body with oxygen, and get the endorphins pumping.