Getting into shape can often seem like a daunting task, and thinking of the hours spent in gyms can make it feel even more impossible. However, new research shows that you don’t need to spend hours exercising in order to get benefits. In fact, even five minutes of running each day can benefit your overall health and longevity.
For those pressed for time, you’re in luck. As scientists have recently discovered, you are better off running for five minutes than you are jogging for an hour. In a study conducted by The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, it was found that those who consistently ran outlived those who did not. In fact, even overweight smokers that ran were outliving non-running non-smokers!
Most importantly, the study concluded that the time spent running was a non-factor in terms of benefits. Provided that the participant ran at least five minutes a day, and that it was done everyday, then they were likely to outlive those who did not. Also, the participants didn’t have to sprint or run excessively fast so long as they got their heart rate up higher than jogging would.
As the researchers discovered, it wasn’t the act of running itself that caused life expectancy to rise. In fact, it was simply keeping the heart at an elevated rate for five minutes or more. Jogging and walking will only slightly elevate a heart rate, but running, weight lifting, or even competitive swimming can all help to push it higher. Keeping the heart at an elevated rate is the key to longevity and health, and for most, running is the simplest and most time-effective way to do so.
Now that the myth of hour-long workout routines has been debunked, you may be feeling better about starting your journey into health and fitness. While you will likely move past the five minute mark very soon, knowing that you can start small and make progress will help motivate you to begin. Remember, even though you don’t have to run more than five minutes, you should still properly stretch and warm up before giving it a go.
Find a time where you can allow yourself to run without any interruptions. Before work is often ideal, and this can give you a nice energy boost throughout the day as well. Use a stopwatch or set your phone’s alarm for five minutes, and then run at a high speed throughout your neighborhood. In five minutes, you will have gained a tremendous benefit to your health while still having enough time leftover for the day.
The key is to stick to running everyday. Don’t do it once or twice a week and then forget: the health benefits are compounded and only work if done consistently. If you ever need motivation, just think of what else takes five minutes: watching silly YouTube videos, watching commercials, and daydreaming about funny things to say to coworkers. If you’re ever feeling unmotivated, just go for a quick run while commercials come on during the evening! Find little ways to motivate yourself in the beginning, and soon, you will find that exercising becomes a habit just like brushing your teeth!
Now that you know how simple and quick it is to benefit from exercising, there are no more excuses for falling behind. Start today, and know that thinking about exercising or the “perfect routine” will take longer than just running for five minutes. By beginning now, you will be providing your future-self with a healthier body and mind!