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Why a Two-Minute Walk Actually Works

By Sandy Schroeder

When I saw an article on two-minute walks recently, I was tempted to skip it. Ten-minute walks seem reasonable, but two-minute walks are harder to believe. I barely get turned around in my cul de sac with a two-minute walk, but researchers say they still count if you just keep doing them.

Gretchen Reynolds explained what happens in a recent New York Times article. Reynolds said new studies of physical activity and life spans showed repeating two-minute walks 15 times a day works just as well as walking 10 minutes three times a day. Either way, you will meet the daily recommendation to walk 30-minutes a day.

Count Your 2-Minute Activities

I started to think about how many two-minute dashes I make a day and was pleased to discover every time I trot down the street with our dog, or scoot up and down the stairs at work, I am logging in another two minutes. Two minutes also happen pretty easily when you lug in the groceries from the car, do a hurry-up wash of your car, or tote a couple loads of laundry to the washer.

Look a little closer at what you do every day to see if you are making a lot of short but productive moves.

The 30-minute daily walk recommendation came from federal exercise guidelines that were put together in 2008. As they were being revised, the question of short periods of walking came up as they examined patterns of activity in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Almost 5,000 men and women past the age of 40 were tracked daily with the findings showing those who were active for an hour a day cut their mortality risk in half.

Surprisingly, it did not matter how they accumulated their exercise time. They got the same results if they walked in lots of short stints, or longer treks, just as long as they moved.

All Physical Activity Counts

“The message is that all physical activity counts,” says Dr. William Kraus, Duke University professor who conducted the research with the National Cancer Institute.

With that in mind, many of us may be motivated to do a lot more quick moves to meet our quota. Think about your day and see how it could work.

  • Walk while you wait for your kids after school
  • Do walk-in-place steps when you are waiting for the water to boil
  • Stand every 20 minutes at work and take a walk around the office
  • Stand and stretch while you are on the phone
  • Try walking meetings on the job

Even when you are sitting at your desk you could do leg stretches or chair posture exercises. Once you get into the habit of moving more all of the time you may have your quota whipped.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Boulder, Colo.

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