Good News: Short Bursts of Exercise Can Keep You Healthy

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It’s not breaking news that exercise is good for you—the benefits range from boosting your energy to adding years to your life. But many of us fall into the trap of forgoing any exercise when there isn’t time to do enough exercise. You can’t commit to a 30 minute Peloton session, let alone an hour-long jog with friends, so why bother?

It’s especially true now, when a global pandemic has (in the best case scenario) left many of us overwhelmed, making fitting in a workout feel as impossible as enthusiastically booking a Mediterranean cruise.

The overburdened can take heart, though. A study recently published in the British Medical Journal indicates that while both moderate workouts and short bursts of high-intensity exercise have health benefits, the latter increased lifespan slightly more, helped participants get more fit, and increased their quality of life.

The long-held standard to target for exercise is “150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, which is basically a brisk walk,” says Dr. Edward Phillips, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

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