Take a look at how 10 minutes of exercise a day just might save your life.
We’ve probably all heard tips like “take the stairs instead of the elevator!” or “if you park at the back of the parking lot you can get in some extra steps today!” But did you know that researchers have calculated just how these short bursts of physical activity can actually improve your health – dramatically?
Researchers found that if adults ages 40-85 put in just 10 extra minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day, the number of deaths in the U.S. would decrease by 110,000 each year.
So, what exactly happens inside your body when you exercise for 10 minutes?
Exercise Decreases Anxiety
A moderate to vigorous bout of exercise can decrease your anxiety nearly instantly. Psychologists suggest a 10-minute walk may be just as effective at this as a 45-minute workout. The effects may be temporary, but evidence suggests a brisk walk or other simple activity may deliver up to several hours of relief, similar to using over-the-counter medication for a headache.
Science also supports that physically active people tend to have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. Individuals who routinely get in vigorous exercise are up to 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years. It is believed exercise may improve mental health by assisting the brain in coping better with stress.
Exercise Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Because exercise reduces blood vessel stiffness, blood can flow more easily throughout your body. This helps to lower blood pressure. This effect is most noticeable during your workout, as well as immediately after.
Three 10-minute walks per day have been found to more effectively prevent blood pressure spikes than one 30-minute walk per day. So it’s worth considering breaking up your workout into smaller 10-minute sessions, especially if you’re working to lower your blood pressure.
Sleep Improves with Exercise
Any form of exercise during the day and/or evening may improve your sleep quality, as well as reduce the risk of sleeping disorders. As little as 10 minutes of walking has a significant impact on your sleep. If you exercise in the morning or the afternoon, your sleep-wake cycle resets, and exercise in the evening helps you to fall asleep easier. Evening exercise also allows you longer periods of deep sleep.
Long-Term Benefits of Exercise
Every 10-minute exercise session adds up. Long term benefits of regular exercise include:
- Cancer prevention
- Improved coordination
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Reduced risk of stroke
- Reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Strengthened muscles and bones
- Stable weight
And all of these benefits add up to extend your life overall!
What Kind of Exercise is Best?
Find the kind of movement you enjoy the most, and embrace it. For example, walking is simple and effective, so it’s a great place to start. But if walking isn’t enjoyable for you, you’ll be less likely to do it, and then won’t reap the benefits of it at all. This is why finding exercise that’s fun for you is important.
Any movement that is of moderate intensity will do. Consider one (or more) of the following:
- Yard work: including raking or pushing a lawn mower
- Pickleball or a new-to-you sport
When Should I Start?
There’s no time like the present. Take a quick walk around the block, or get outside and play tag with your children or grandchildren. Remember, your activity is cumulative, so even 10 minutes a day is enough to add years to your life over time!