Just Freakin’ Move!

Notable news for anyone who happens to be busy: A new study published this month in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that movement – any movement – increases longevity. This may not sound groundbreaking, but it is. What makes the findings revolutionary is that exercise does not have to be prolonged in order to be advantageous – the benefits are almost exactly the same.

It means that you can finally cancel your gym membership, stop killing yourself at CrossFit, curse out your yoga guru, and stop lacing up your running shoes. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.

The study indicates that we do not have to exercise for prolonged periods of time to reap the physical and mental benefits. You still have to move, but you don’t have to run a 10k or swim laps to live longer. Just freakin’ move. Walk whenever possible. Boycott elevators and challenge yourself to take the stairs. Stand up frequently or stand while working. Rotate your ankles at your desk. Just move and move often.

Minutes of movement throughout the day add up and significantly lower your risk of dying young. In fact, researchers found that when we move for an hour each day – even if that movement occurs in short bouts – we cut our mortality risk in half. “All physical activity counts,” says Dr. William Kraus, a professor at Duke who conducted the study with researchers from the National Cancer Institute. “The little things that people do every day…add up and affect the risk for disease and death,” he says.

If you like to work out for long periods and drip sweat, go for it, but don’t feel guilty if you don’t have time to cycle for an hour. Just walk around the office or around the block multiple times a day. As long as your movement adds up to an hour each day, you’ll live forever. Well, longer at least. Does lifting a pint of craft beer count? Theoretically, yes. All movement counts.

Dr. H.