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EXERCISE: EVERY BIT COUNTS

I can’t emphasise enough about the benefits of exercise, right from how you feel and look to the many values of maintaining your health and wellness, and avoiding diseases. Yet we find people struggle all the time to commit to a regular exercise routine. I often have people talk about having the will to exercise but lacking the will to actually do it.

Some people struggle with time and some with actually sticking to a routine. I often also hear about sporadic bursts of exercise that people do and then they worry that it might actually do them more harm than good. This is untrue. However half baked your attempt, know that when it comes to exercise, every bit counts.

While I always encourage people to get into the habit of exercising regularly, I also encourage them to show up with their sporadic attempts. The benefits of exercise and physical activity are immense whether you dedicate an hour each day or you find small moments of workouts that you do through the day.

Intermittent exercise is an effective way to get into building the habit of regular exercise. Research shows that the body benefits even if the exercise is divided into smaller blocks of time. Just remember it has to be sustained vigorous activity of at least 10-15 minutes each session. You need to stress the system to build muscle and strengthen the heart. Note here that if you are generally sedentary, short spurts of exercise may induce changes, but if you are in good shape this method may not help see visible changes although you will still benefit from the exercise.

If you have a busy schedule, are new to exercise or get easily bored but are in need of improving your health and fitness while reducing health risks, intermittent exercise will be effective. You can start simply by using work breaks to walk briskly for 10-15 minutes at a time, or before or after meals. But if weight loss is your goal, you have to make exercise and physical activity a regular feature of your day. To reduce weight, exercise alone is not enough, you will also have to adopt good eating habits.

For those who already exercise but struggle with time, short speed interval training could be the answer. There are numerous ways to create routines that challenge you and get you the results.
While 10-15 minute workouts are a welcome message for those who struggle with finding the time to exercise, please note that high intensity workouts are not suitable for everyone. Please consult your trainer before you start one. Also if you know that you are very unfit, have a health condition or are on regular medication for a chronic issue, build up your fitness gradually but first consult your doctor.

Sandesh Palungwa Limbu, Certified professional fitness instructor, founder of RAGE Fitness, and specialises in mixed martial arts.

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