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Should you do the minimum amount of daily exercise?

A colleague recently forwarded an article to me with this title:

If Your Workouts Last Longer Than 13 Minutes, Science Says You're Wasting Your Time.

The opening line is "Unless you have unlimited time and an unnatural enthusiasm for exercise, chances are you want to work out as little as possible to reap all the benefits." The article goes on to say that you can get all you need in 13 mins.

This got me thinking, of course.

I have a friend who, this summer, got a job as a mountain bike instructor (lucky him! He is the envy of many people!). He spends a few hours most days guiding clients. He guides a lot of beginners, so the exercise component is not extremely strenuous, but he spends several hours most days of the week moving his body, as opposed to sitting at a desk or behind the wheel. With very little effort in terms of changing his eating, he lost a decent amount of weight and is in superb fitness (trust me, my husband tried to keep up with him mountain biking...unsuccessfully). What is the point of this anecdote? As I have noted previously, human beings were made for movement. "Motion is lotion" is even on my business cards. So while it is great to hit the gym (something is better than nothing!), I'm not convinced that we should be shooting for the bare minimums in exercise. Rather, I think we should be aiming for as much movement as possible, every single day, and that it should be varied and enjoyable. Think gardening, family bike riding, tennis, basketball, family wrestling matches, hiking, yoga, walking. Get outside and enjoy this beautiful place that we live. Don't move because you have to, just to check off a box that your doc told you to do, move because you want to and because it is what your body was created for. Happy September and keep moving!! Dr. V

About the author

Sarah Vlach