Over the past two years, we have spent more time indoors and less time moving our bodies than ever before.
Sure, some people have used this time to really dig into developing new, healthier patterns. But many others threw in the towel and gained that “COVID 19.”
In fact, 61 percent of American adults have reported unwanted weight gain in the age of coronavirus. And they’re failing to meet even the minimum requirements for regular exercise.
So, how do we offset these bad habits?
Well, new research shows it can be as easy as moving for just five minutes every hour.
Let me explain…
A significant drop in daily movement
Since pandemic shutdowns took hold, many people bid farewell to their daily commute and socialization—in the office, a coffee shop, or even the grocery store. And new research reveals just how much this affected activity levels.
Researchers from King’s College London conducted a year-long assessment to measure physical activity levels before quarantine in 2019 until the end of quarantine in 2020. (Keep in mind this study was completed in the U.K., where there was a nationwide quarantine.)
The physical abilities of participants ranged from highly active and independent, to those with limited or assisted mobility. (In other words, the findings can be relevant to people across the board, regardless of fitness status.)
The team used accelerometers to record the duration, regularity, and degree of movement in four different categories: robust, mild, low, and sedentary.
On average, individuals were engaging in nearly 90 minutes of mild exercise each day before quarantine. However, during lockdown, participants spent an average of 25 minutes less each day on low activity tasks and generally moved 11 percent less each hour during the day.
Plus, even people who don’t exercise much to begin with were impacted by lockdown inactivity. In fact, this study showed that sedentary time climbed by a whole hour among disabled adults with neuromuscular disease.
But the good news is, as this research found, offsetting those effects doesn’t have to be complicated…
Every little bit counts
Being physically active is about more than just working out or going to the gym each day. Those small, daily activities—taking the stairs, doing laundry, even cooking—count, too.
In fact, many people don’t realize just how much light activity is done in a day. Or how, regardless of one’s overall health status, frequent movement plays a role in better health outcomes.
So the more you move your body throughout the day, every day? The better off you’ll be.
These researchers suggest simply moving for five minutes each hour during the day—and spending an additional 30 minutes on light activity, like yoga—can be beneficial. (Yes, even a simple 30-minute daily walk can make a BIG difference to your health.)
The bottom line is this: Every little bit counts. And if you’re used to staying home, your routine doesn’t even have to change much at all. All it takes is a little creativity and commitment. Go for walks, take the stairs, pace around the living room for all I care… whatever you do, just do it. And KEEP doing it. Because these subtle differences really do make a huge difference to your health.
And with the New Year right around the corner, I can’t think of a simpler or more important resolution to put on your list.
For additional inspiration, check out the March 2013 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“Putting your workouts to work for you”), where I outline three basic types of exercise, and how you can choose what’s right for you. Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one.
“Just 5 minutes of movement every hour can undo harms from inactivity.” Study Finds, 10/29/2021. (studyfinds.org/5-minutes-movement-undo-inactivity/)