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January 09, 2021

Squeeze 11 minutes of exercise into your day — it could help you live longer

Even short amounts of physical activity provide health benefits, new research suggests

Fitness Exercise
Exercise 11 minutes Source/Image licensed from Ingram Image

Incorporating 11 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine can help you live longer, a new study shows.

Sitting for extended periods — a sedentary behavior that seemingly has increased during the coronavirus pandemic — comes with staggering health risks. 

It not only increases the risk of depression, but studies also suggest its physical impact increases the risk of death as much as obesity or smoking

But people who spend much of their work days sitting should not worry. Combatting its effects can be as easy as taking a walk over lunch, jumping rope after work or having a dance party in the living room. 

A new study from the Norwegian School of Sports Medicine indicates that getting just 11 minutes of moderate exercise every day can increase a person's lifespan.

The researchers used activity monitors to track the physical activity and sedentary time of 44,000 people for 4 to 14.5 years. People who exercised at least 35 minutes per day reaped the most benefits, but getting just 11 minutes of moderate exercise — like a brisk walk — had a noticeable impact on their health, CNN reported

For substantial health benefits, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recommended people get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. 

A 2016 study has suggested adults aim for as much as 60 to 75 minutes of physical activity per day. But that study's findings were based solely on self-reported data, which is considered less reliable than the trackers used by the Norwegian researchers. 

Eleven minutes of daily exercise is a much more attainable and accessible goal for most people. There are many ways to get it, like taking a walk, doing a quick weigh-lifting sequence or trying some yoga. 

The study recommended people pick exercises and movements that are close to a full-body workout, like combining squats and pushups to get both upper and lower body exercise. There also are plenty of at-home items people can swap for weights if they can't get to a gym. 

A simple, three-minute exercise sequence, like combining 10-25 pushups, 25-40 squats and a minute of jogging in place, can be done anywhere and repeated throughout the day. 

These other workouts, which include planks and chair dips, also can be done nearly anywhere. People even can add core exercises to their Zoom calls.

Plus, at-home friendly high-intensity interval training can help people get cardio in without having to leave their homes. 

Dancing to a playlist with upbeat songs can work, too. It takes just three or four songs to get 11 minutes of movement. CNN recommends "Happy" by Pharell Williams, "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson and "HandClap" by Fitz and the Tantrums.

Yoga also can be a good option for people who want to incorporate stress relief into their routines.

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