How Much Exercise Does it Take to Make a Difference?

Getting results from your home fitness equipment may be more attainable than you think. It’s easy to feel like there’s no point to working out if you can’t complete your scheduled hour-long elliptical workout or five-mile run, but the evidence is increasingly showing that the first 10 to 20 minutes of your workout make the biggest difference on your long term health. A recent blog article from the New York Times on Gretchen Reynolds’ new book: The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, and Live Longer, highlights some of these benefits. From the article, “The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk — all of those things come in the first 20 minutes of being active.” The article (and the book) emphasizes the importance of exercise as not just a tool for weight loss and performance, but as a way of improving your fitness, health and quality of life, independent of the impact your workouts have on the scale. If you’re working out regularly but not seeing changes on the scale, congratulate yourself on sticking with the program and enjoy the positive impact your program is having on your quality of life.

Weigh In: What keeps you motivated to complete your daily workouts? If you don’t have time for a scheduled workout, do you skip or make a new plan?