Globe reader Ron Renaud in Vancouver B.C. asks, “Can 20 minutes exercise a day really make a difference?” Globe Health fitness expert Kathleen Trotter has strong feelings on the matter: “Daily movement is imperative! Don’t let yourself off of the exercise hook by doubting how much of a long term difference it will make.” Trotter elaborates:
Any amount of movement – whether it lasts for 20 minutes or two – will positively affect your health.
The first reason: When you’re up and exercising – even just for 20 minutes, those are minutes not spent sitting. Prolonged sitting negatively affects the cardiovascular, lymphatic and digestive system, not to mention one’s metabolism. Sitting is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes, and affects how our bodies metabolize glucose.
Secondly, once you get into the habit of being more active you can tweak your routine to ensure that you get your desired results – those that could “make a difference,” as you say. Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or improve cardio endurance – I don’t know. I can tell you that 20 minutes of training a day is a great start – and then you can tweak your routine from there.
Don’t get me wrong: walking for 20 minutes every day will not be enough to run a marathon. If you never start training, you will have no routine to tweak.
Even when you’re seriously training, you don’t need to spend hours at the gym to get results. Mini workouts can offer maximum benefits. I think Tabata intervals are going to be your friend: read about them here.
So many fun interval workouts are available, that don’t take hours every day. When I run, I love alternating 15 seconds of intense work with 45 seconds of moderate work for 20 minutes. For more of my favourite interval and mini workouts, read this and this.
For an efficient arm workout in just six minutes, watch this:
Want a great legs workout and short on time? No problem: