Confession: I’m a weekend warrior. And all these studies about how we are sitting ourselves to death are freaking me out.
Can anyone really get down to 3 hours of chair time a day? I can’t. I’m an official “desk jockey,” and frankly, a trek desk is not in the cards for me. Not only can I not afford a new desk built for a treadmill, plus a treadmill, but it wouldn’t fit in my teeny apartment.
So I save my big workouts for the glorious weekend.
But now it’s possible that all those exercise hours are being cancelled out by sitting during the week. Am I sealing my coffin two years earlier?
The American Heart Association says that for health benefits, “30 minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember.” Easy to remember, but not always easy to do! Besides, for some of us, our favorite activities—like hiking, cycling, swimming, a soccer match, CrossFit—take more than 30 minutes.
Those two-hour chunks of time to do the good stuff only seem to come around on the weekend.
So how can we stick with our favorite fitness activities, while still getting the benefits of cardio-respiratory health, weight loss, strength and disease prevention?
Let’s see just how much exercise we need, according to guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I think we can be weekend warriors and still stay fit!
– 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week
– 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week
– 120 minutes (approx) of a combination of moderate and vigorous activity per week
– 2 days per week of muscle-strengthening activities involving all major muscle groups
– 10 minutes minimum for each bout of activity
By these recommendations, all hope is not lost for those of us who can’t do a gut-busting workout every day. For critical health benefits, all we need is a couple hours of well-rounded training a week.
However, your workouts should ideally be spread throughout the week, they say. That’s where the importance of easy “filler” activities comes in: Taking the stairs. Hula-hooping during “The Voice.” Mowing the lawn.
Brisk dog walks and quick jaunts around the park aren’t chump change, by the way. And as Randy pointed out, 30-minute workouts can actually be more effective than 60-minute ones.
So as long as you fill up your week with simple daily activities of at least 15 minutes each, there’s no harm in saving your exercise juice for a couple of big workouts on the weekend. In fact, you’ll even EXCEED the minimum requirements for health benefits set forth by the government.
Just don’t hurt yourself by overdoing it.