3 Doctor-Designed Workouts Anyone Can Do
Effective exercise ‘prescriptions’ that take 20 minutes or less
This story is part of Exercise Is Medicine, a special report from Elemental that covers the incredible healing benefits of exercise, why doctors are prescribing workouts, the science of exercise for depression, and expert-designed exercises anyone can do.
Physical activity can help you think more clearly, sleep better, battle depression and generally live longer and healthier, a slew of studies show. U.S. federal guidelines call for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, which equates to 30 minutes a day over five days, to help achieve and maintain good health. This can be achieved by simply walking.
Meanwhile, a growing body of research finds surprising benefits of incredibly brief bouts of intense activity. The type of exercise is not what’s most important, says Martin Gibala, a professor in the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and a leading researcher on the health benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and its less time-consuming cousin, sprint-interval training (SIT). What matters is the brief, all-out effort which Gibala’s research has shown benefits people just starting an exercise program or those already in shape.
“Workouts don’t have to last an hour,” Gibala writes in his book, The One-Minute Workout. “They can last ten minutes or even less — and get you remarkable fitness benefits.”
Here are three expert-designed exercise prescriptions for improving your fitness with no equipment:
Walk (20 minutes)
Women who walk 4,400 steps a day, counting not just exercise but walking across parking lots or any other purposeful action afoot, have a 41% lower risk of premature death compared to people who get fewer than 2,700, according to a study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine and reported by Elemental. Based on the results, study leader I-Min Lee, an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s…