For whatever reason—too tired, long hours at work, watching the kids, can’t afford a gym membership, don't know where to start, unmotivated—most people aren’t getting enough exercise. But what some of us fail to realize is that our weight, and health, are both paying the price for our sedentary lifestyles.
Whatever it takes, we have to get moving! A recent study found that moderate exercise for 15 minutes a day has some pretty potent health benefits.
"About 416,000 Taiwanese adults were asked how much exercise they did the previous month. Based on their answers, they were put into five groups of varying activity levels from inactive to highly active. Researchers kept track of their progress for eight years on average and calculated projected life expectancy.
"The study found those who exercised just 15 minutes a day— or 90 minutes a week —cut their risk of death by 14 percent and extended their life expectancy by three years compared with those who did no exercise. Both men and women benefited equally from the minimum activity.
"Each additional 15 minutes of exercise reduced the risk of death by another 4 percent compared with the inactive group. Researchers did not report how additional exercise affected life expectancy.
This is good news for those just starting an exercise regime. But this news doesn't mean that 15 minutes is enough—experts recommend at least 30 minutes per day—but it's a start. Begin slowly and try to work your way up to the half-and-hour workouts.
Here are some great 15-minute routines that give you the most bang for the buck:
Jump roping: Who would have thought that something we did as kids could blast so much fat. One hour can burn 750 calories—so even 15 minutes can scorch fat. Double Dutch, anyone?
Interval walks/runs: Some experts rank this as the best exercise on the earth. Intervals—a method of exercise that combines moderate-paced aerobic activity with short bursts of high-intensity or high-speed exercise—can burn more fat and calories than working out at the same speed for the entire time. And you can do this anywhere—in the pool, on the track, on the elliptical, etc.
Stair climbing: You don't need an expensive machine in your house to do stair climbing. You can do it in your home, job, apartment complex, local gymnasium or wherever there are stairs to climb. This is more than cardio—a steep incline can shape your butt and thighs STAT.
Strength/Resistance Training: Cardio is great, but please don't forget about your muscles. And remember: You don't need weights either. You can use your own body weight by doing squats, lunges, sit-ups and push-ups to build muscle. Peep this easy-to-follow routine.
Who's ready to get it in?
(Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT/Landov)