Reality Check: You Don’t Have to Exercise for Hours to Be Healthy

General health guidelines suggest we all get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per day. Disclaimer: I’m definitely no medical professional, nutritionist or anything of the sort, so these are just some thoughts and a reminder of this guideline.

To some of you, this may seem like nothing. To others, it may seem like a big step up from your current fitness routine. 

Well, first let’s establish what exactly qualifies. According to the Mayo Clinic, moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, gentle cycling, swimming, and mowing the lawn. Surprised? I sure was. I always thought this meant things like jogging, things that feel like focused exercise.

In this very inspiring, but also equally influential, world of health and fitness, it’s easy to feel like you need to take these guidelines to the extreme. Ten (even three) mile runs, hour-long spin classes and yoga that makes you sweat buckets full – these are all great, but only if you are doing them because you want to. Moving your body should not be a chore. It should help relieve stress, not stress you out.

This is your reminder that doing no “real” exercise is okay. As long as you are getting in some daily movement, you can meet the requirements. You don’t have to break a serious sweat every day to be healthy.

This is not at all to say hitting the gym or going on a run are bad. It’s just meant to show you don’t have to go crazy in your quest for health.

The idea of a gym, fitness classes and the like only came about in the past fifteen to twenty years or so. Before that, exercise came in the form of simply moving around as part of one’s daily routine. And it can still be just that way. 

Takeaways

First, don’t ever feel like you need to force yourself to exercise. It’s simply not needed to be healthy. Just get some movement in daily. 

Second, working out should not be your number one priority – you have a fun to have, friends and family to spend time with, and dreams to chase.

Check out these articles too:

Author Tanvi Ahuja

Tanvi is a student at the University of Cambridge across the pond in the UK! Family, friends and food are her favorite things. She is obsessed with all things chocolate, strawberry and nut-butter and even has a food blog called Strawberry Chocolate Concoction. A black belt in karate and former competitive swimmer, Tanvi loves staying fit and encouraging others to do so as well. She’s happiest when surrounded by the people she loves - a sprinkling of yummy food and sunny weather wouldn’t hurt either!

More posts by Tanvi Ahuja