In a perfect world, everyone would spend hours at the gym every day and be happy as a clam and fit as a fiddle. But alas, few—if any—have time for that. Instead, many try to work out when they can… or maybe they don’t exercise at all, discouraged at their inability to devote any significant amount of time to sweating and grunting. Thankfully, to reap physical and mental benefits, a substantial amount of intensive exercise isn’t needed.
While engaging in 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each day is ideal for losing weight and maintaining peak physical health, just 10 minutes of daily light exercise will improve cognitive abilities and physical health. That’s right: 10 minutes a day for health and happiness
The Benefits of Light Exercise
What does 10 minutes of light exercise get you? Improved cognitive function and heart health. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America had students participate in two memory tests. One was taken after 10 minutes of light exercise and the other taken after the students had just been sitting around. The results showed that the students performed much better on the test after participating in mild exercise.
In addition, while the study did not examine the effect of daily light exercise on age-related memory loss, research suggests that consistent exercise may slow down memory loss over time.
How to Get that Little Bit of Exercise in Every Day
Working out isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite pastime. To do it consistently requires dedication, self-discipline, and sometimes a big dose of courage. But exercise can come in many different forms—some of which don’t even require Lululemon apparel and an Apple Watch. For instance, taking the stairs instead of the elevator counts as exercise, as does biking to the store instead of hopping in the car. Here are five of the simplest, yet effective, acts of physical exertion that could become part (or all) of your daily routine:
1. Go for a 10-minute walk
Not only is walking one of the most effortless workouts one can do, but it has also been found to be a natural stress reducer. Additionally, one can grab the company of friends, family or even a pet and turn this exercise into a social activity!
2. 10 minutes of stretching or yoga
Stretching is one of the most beneficial exercises around. It’s another excellent exercise for stress reduction, it improves memory and heart health, it prevents injury and reduces soreness, and usually one can practice meditation while performing this exercise.
3. Clean the house (or car)
While this may not be what people immediately think of when they think of exercising, cleaning the house requires full body physical movement that gets the body moving and the blood pumping. Just don’t forget to put some elbow grease into it!
4. Do some yard work
Like cleaning the house, this is another excellent way to be productive and get in a daily dose of exercise. Some lawn care practices like mowing the lawn with a push mower or digging with a shovel can be as physically demanding as a moderate-intensity workout.
5. Do a 10-minute-home workout
Time to bust out those push-ups and sit-ups because a quick calisthenic workout using bodyweight can be done at any time and anywhere. A 10-minute calisthenics workout routine can be put together on the fly, or one can be found online.
It’s completely understandable that not everyone has the resources to go to the gym every day. However, there are so many ways to get in just a few minutes of daily exercise that are not only simple, productive and spiritually beneficial but will also do wonders for happiness and health. Find a way to get just a few minutes of exercise in every day, and you will feel better and work smarter!