Out of Breath on Your Way to Class?


There are two types of gym goers; The ones whose ultimate goal is to have rock-hard abs and strong, toned muscles, and the ones who really just want to be somewhat healthy and keep their muscles functioning properly.

I mean let’s admit it, some of us are simply not that into fitness. While abs may look cool, some of us are either too busy to meal prep and keep track of all those macro-nutrients, or just love stuffed-crust pizza too much to give it up in exchange for abs.

Whatever your reason may be, I have good news for you. Turns out there are studies out there that claim we might be overestimating the amount of exercise we actually need to obtain good health.

Do we really need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise five times a week?

Most of us have heard this, and this is indeed what the Department of Health and Human Services recommends. However, research published in the American Journal of Hypertension  found that 61 to 90 minutes of exercise a week could lower systolic blood pressure, but exercising for more than 90 minutes a week doesn’t actually have an increased benefit when it comes to lowering blood pressure.

Another study shows that 30 minutes of interval training each week, broken into three workouts, could lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. According to Women’s Health magazine,  a study by the journal Plos One showed that people performing a 10-minute interval-training cycling workout three times a week obtained similar improvement in insulin sensitivity as those who cycled for 45 minutes straight at a moderate pace.

What does a personal trainer recommend?

Personal trainer and kinesiology major student Nicholas Van Hoorn said:

“I would suggest about three to four days a week with a minimum of 30 minutes per day in which you want to keep your heart rate a little higher through those workouts, just to make sure that you are getting the full effect of it. I would suggest circuit training … If you do some resistance circuits and stuff like that, it’d be a really good way to both keep your heart rate up and get resistance training at the same time.”

Studies show you can benefit from only five minutes of continuous movement… yes, FIVE!

While most studies have shown you can benefit from only five minutes of continuous movement repeated during the day, fitness experts believe 10 minutes is a more realistic bare minimum. And if we can do five minutes, we can do ten.

How often should we do these five to 10-minute workouts? According to the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Sports Medicine, significant health benefits come from 30 minutes of physical activity three to five times a week, depending on your personal fitness goals. So if you do the math you would need to do either six daily sessions of five minutes each, or three daily sessions of 10 minutes a piece.

So what happens if we don’t ever workout?

Well, here is the deal. While fitting in tiny workouts throughout your day can be very beneficial for your heart, lungs and muscles, not working out at all throughout your lifetime can significantly impact your quality of life.

Van Hoorn said, “Most likely you’re going to see a rise in overweight and [obese] people who aren’t regularly exercising. That makes them a little more prone to injury and it also kind of lowers their efficiency of performing activities of daily living.

“So if you’re not working out consistently throughout your entire life or just not exercising at all, you’re going to see a steady decline in your efficiency in everything you do, like walking to class. You’ll be breathing really heavy and your heart rate is going to be high.”  

While it is perfectly understandable if you don’t care much about muscle-building and ripped abs, you really don’t want to be that person that's all out of breath while simply walking to class. That just can’t be healthy, so start fitting in those 10-minute bursts of physical activity or those 30-minute jogs, or just anything you want! Stay active 49ers!