What If You’re Active for One Hour a Day?

Physical activity is essential for good health. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans issued by the Department of Health and Human Services recommends a minimum of 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week for adults. That averages out to roughly 22 minutes to 43 minutes of physical activity a day. Maybe you’re a firm believer in the benefits of physical activity, and you carve out 30 minutes to an hour to exercise every single day. But just how active are you throughout the entire day?

Are you as active as you think you are? Setting aside time to exercise is a great habit, but make a point to be active throughout the day. Click To Tweet

You can exercise and still be sedentary

Let’s say that you run for 30 minutes every day. At the end of the week you’ve easily met the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation for vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (75 minutes to 150 weekly minutes). Perhaps you’re a dedicated runner, and you run for an hour each day.

That’s good. It’s great! What does the rest of your day look like, though?

For many that day is spent working behind a desk, driving to and from work, and relaxing with family in the evenings before going to bed. You may spend 30 minutes to an hour exercising, but you are sedentary for the remaining 23 of your 24 hours each day.

There’s not a wrong way to meet your daily goal for physical activity. Any amount of physical activity is beneficial. Keep up the good work if you already designate 30 minutes each day to a bike, treadmill, or walking trail! However, see if you can squeeze some extra physical activity in throughout the day.

Every minute adds up

Last year’s revision to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans no longer requires a minimum duration for physical activity. You don’t have to be active for 10 minutes at a time; every minute of physical activity counts towards your daily total. These guidelines also recommend that adults “move more and sit less throughout the day”. 

This means that any amount of physical activity you can fit into your day is beneficial, and the more you move throughout the day the better.

Maybe you can fit in 10 minutes here or five minutes there; those minutes add up throughout the day. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking at the very back of a parking lot, biking instead of driving, and doing chores and yard work around the house are great ways to contribute to your active minutes each day.

You receive substantial health benefits when you incorporate physical activity and exercise into your daily routine.

More activity means greater health benefits

Any amount of exercise provides health benefits. However, the more active you are, the better it is for your overall health. That 30-minute block is a great start, but look for ways to add more movement and avoid sedentary living throughout the rest of the day.

Maybe you haven’t been physically active in a while, and you’re not sure where to start. While exercise provides health benefits it does come with some risks, especially if you are not used to being active. Talk to your primary care provider for ways to stay active.