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No Time to Work Out? Every Bit of Activity Counts

We get it, finding time for an hour-long workout every day is hard, and gym memberships can be costly. Well, great news! Researchers have recently found that you can fit in more exercise just by going about your daily life. They’re calling it high-intensity incidental physical activity, or HIIPA. It includes the things you do every day that require some exertion, but you aren’t doing them purposely to exercise.

Eyes Off the Clock

The length of each bout may vary from mere seconds, such as walking up a few flights of stairs, to much longer sessions, like mopping your floors or biking to work. In fact, researchers are finding that you don’t have to be concerned about how long each activity lasts. What’s most important is that you try to move more and sit less during the day. Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released its updated physical activity guidelines and eliminated the requirement that activities should last at least 10 minutes, because evidence now shows you can reap health benefits with any length of activity.

Make It Count

To get the most bang for your buck with HIIPA, the more vigorous the activities are, the greater the benefits. Studies have found that higher intensity activities are associated with a higher life expectancy and lower risk of dying of heart disease. You may be surprised that many activities you’re already doing can be considered vigorous, even if you’re only doing them for a few seconds. Here are some examples:

  • Walking uphill

  • Playing with your kids

  • Climbing stairs

  • Bicycling to work

  • Carrying groceries or heavy boxes upstairs

  • Shoveling snow

While it’s true that more physical activity yields even greater health benefits, it’s not practical for everyone to be able to fit in a workout every single day. With HIIPA, you can still make your health a priority by simply finding opportunities to move more throughout your day-to-day life.

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