How much exercise do we really need?

By Melissa Cavendar, Tulalip Tribes Health & Safety Specialist
You say you don’t have time to exercise? You’re hardly alone. For many people, lack of time is the single biggest obstacle to fitness. But, experts say, you may be overestimating how much exercise you really need to get at one time. Instead of investing an hour at the gym, what if you could get fitter with 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there through your day?
There is no question that short amounts of exercise can help you get fit, help you stay fit, and help you maintain your health. Did you know some of these exercises can fit into a 5-minute time period at work, at your desk, waiting in line in the grocery store, even driving in your car  and it’s not an overwhelming task, plus, the benefits can be enormous.
So how much exercise do you really need? Most of the studies show that 5 minutes of continuous movement repeated during the day is about the bare minimum to have any effect, and fitness experts believe 10 minutes is more realistic.
Simple movements, such as standing up super-straight, with shoulders rolled back, abdominals tight, and chin up. The main trick is to set a timer for 5 minutes and hold that posture. A quick fitness routine could include functional movements such as repeatedly standing up and sitting down in a chair, bending down and picking objects up off the floor, or putting something on a high shelf, taking it down, and putting it back up again, until your five minutes are up. (Think Spring cleaning your closet every day for 5 minutes!)
Stretching is another option for exercise and improved mobility. Just little movements each day can make a difference in how your body burns calories and tones muscles. Keep moving!
Just do as little or a lot, but remember to have or set goals and put them in place, prior to starting your movement or workout plan. So how much exercise do we really need? It is up to you! Take a walk, play with your children, walk your dog, and don’t forget that laughter is a stress reliever.