From a young age you are taught the importance of physical activity. It begins with recess in elementary school, mandatory PE class in middle school, and even intramural athletics in high school. What they don’t tell you is that you don’t actually have to exercise every day to live a healthy life. Let’s break it down:
FACT: Exercise is widely known to be a sure-fire way to prevent premature death and aging. Health experts recommend that every individual partake in 150 minutes of moderate (or 75 minutes of vigorous) exercise per week.
Realistically, most people find it difficult to establish a regular exercise routine for various reasons. This brings about the question of whether or not those who only find time to exercise a few times a week are getting as much benefit as the “disciplined exercisers”. Medical researcher Gary O’Donovan and his colleagues from Loughborough University polled and followed the health of approximately 64,000 men and women from England and Scotland, separating them into three groups: an inactive control group, a daily exercising group, and a group that exercised two times per week. After 20 years of data collection, O’Donovan found that those that exercised two times per week reduced their risk of premature death by 34%, while the regularly exercising group reduced their risk by 35%. Both groups were able to meet the “recommended” amount of exercise and had nearly identical succession rates!
So don’t fret if you can’t make it to the gym every morning. Frankly, all you need to do is a few days a week of moderate exercise to be as healthy as the next guy.
O’Donovan, Gary. “Association of Leisure Time Physical Activity With Risk for Mortality.”JAMA Internal Medicine, American Medical Association, 1 Mar. 2017.
Park, Alice. “Why You Don’t Have to Exercise or Work Out Every Day.” Time, 9 Jan. 2017.