Study suggests health benefits from 'easy exercise'

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by KGW staff

kvue.com

Posted on February 8, 2013 at 10:55 PM

Dread that trip to the gym? A new study done by a professor at Oregon State University suggests you can get the same health benefits from small bouts of activity as you do with that 30 minute workout at the gym.

Going to the gym to get that hardcore workout, working up a sweat to burn off those calories is the price many have to pay to stay in shape.

Not necessarily, says exercise expert Brad Cardinal. Cardinal is a professor of exercise and sport science at Oregon State University. He co-authored a national study that challenges the way we think about exercise.

"This is based on 6,000 people 18 to 85 years old, and they were wearing these little accelerometers," explained Cardinal. Each participant wore an accelerometer which tracked how many calories they burned a day by doing pretty normal daily activities.

Cardinal discovered the secret was incorporating small increments of activity throughout the day.

"As short as one or two minutes, but less then ten minutes," he explained, "compared to those who did 30 minutes accumulative long term physical activity ... we found they had the same health outcomes."

For example, by walking up three flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator, you burn about 20 more calories.

Getting out of your car and going into a restaurant to get your lunch instead of sitting in the drive-through, you'll burn about ten extra calories.

And instead of buying those pre-washed and cut vegetables at the store, buy fresh and wash, slice and chop yourself. That will burn an additional 20 calories.

Add an hour at the mall instead of online shopping and you'll burn altogether about 300 calories. That's about the same as a trip to the gym.

And in some cases, Cardinal said, these short bouts of activity are even better for you.

"We really find that can have really positive health benefits for people in terms of their cholesterol level, reducing their blood pressure, even their waist size," said Cardinal.

So you don't have to worry anymore if you don't have time to go to the gym just as long as you make movement a part of your every day. Another benefit to this active lifestyle approach to exercise is that people actually do it more.

Researchers found 43 percent of those who participated in the "short bouts" of activity got their 30 minutes of exercise a day.

That's compared to only ten percent of those doing the longer bouts.

Need some suggestions on calorie burning activities?

Here's a few more: Thirty minutes of folding clothes will burn 72 calories Three hours of playing cards burns about 350 calories And in the spirit of Valentines Day, 30 minutes of kissing will burn off about 36 calories.

KGW Reporter Keely Chalmers contributed to this report

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