It can be hard to include exercise in our busy lives, despite the best of intentions. There are a lot of reasons people don’t exercise, and a lot of misconceptions about exercise. Here are nine common misconceptions about exercise and what research actually tells us.
1. I was fit once, so I don’t need to exercise Unfortunately, the health benefits of exercise won’t last if you don’t sustain your exercise regime. A significant reduction or drop out can cause a marked loss of initial benefits, such as cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Consistency is the key. Mix it up and keep it interesting as maintaining high levels of physical activity throughout your life is associated with the best health outcomes.
2. Being on your feet all day doesn’t have the same benefit as exercise Being on your feet, moving around all days means you have a high level of physical activity. This is health enhancing. To optimise health benefits, increase your level of exercise – enough to cause you to sweat a little – to at least 150 minutes a week, where possible.
3. Exercise needs to be ten minutes or longer, otherwise it’s a waste of time The good news is that recent guidelines have eliminated the need for physical activity to be delivered in bouts of at least ten minutes. There is no minimum threshold for health benefits, so carry out active daily chores, such as carrying heavy shopping bags and vigorous house or garden work, to improve your health.
Try to do exercise “snacks”, for example three to five short (half a minute to two minutes) bouts of activity spread across the day, such as climbing a few flights of stairs at a high enough intensity to make you a bit out of breath.