Short Bursts Are OK’d by the Government

Short Bursts Are OK’d by the Government


You may not have known but the federal government didn’t count any exercise you did unless it took more than 10 minutes to accomplish.

Up until 2018, you had to exercise for 10 minutes for it to be official.  But now it all counts.

This was one of the major changes the US Health and Human Services, Physical Activity Guidelines updated last year.

This is the first time it has been updated in a decade.  One of their findings was “The 2018 Committee was able to conclude that bouts of any length [of exercise] contribute to the health benefits associated with the accumulated volume of physical activity.”

I’m sure very few people are aware of this major change, nor will it change the way we live our lives.

But it is important as you consider getting more movement into your life.

If you are part of the vast majority of Americans who do not get the government recommended amount of exercise, you might want to consider short bursts of intense exercise.

If you are already a muscle head, you probably know about HIIT (high-intensity interval training).  This type of training can have tremendous impact in your training and doesn’t require a great deal of your time.

Unlike running and walking for hours, HIIT training workouts get done in 15-20 minutes and will help you lose weight, ward off aging by encouraging the body to create Human Growth Hormone naturally, as well as improving your speed and performance in any physical activity.

But it requires you to push yourself to exhaustion in those 15-20 minutes.

There have been no negatives found with this type of training and the list of positives only continues to grow.

But what if there was a way for everyone to get some of the benefits of HIIT training and it was possible to incorporate it into your day in smaller bursts?

Enter HIIPA – high-intensity incidental physical activity.  An editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine brought up this idea in light of the new U.S. guidelines.

What if we didn’t push ourselves to exhaustion but could get most of the benefits of HIIT training and we can build it into our daily lives?

The editorial said HIIPA should be thought of as “exercise snacks.”  Things like sprinting up the stairs a few times a day or making housework more intense by scrubbing harder or taking all the groceries from the car to the kitchen in one load.

HIIPA is not really supposed to be thought of as exercise, but “part of one’s daily living that is not done for the purpose of recreation or health and requires no sacrifice of discretionary time.”

But the benefits may actually be as good as HIIT.

Sporadic bursts could have major advantages to those who are less active, said the lead author Emmanuel Stamatakis, Ph.D. from the School of Public Health, University of Sydney.

A HIIPA burst 3-4 times a day, three or four times a week can increase the measure of fitness by 5% in over six weeks.

That’s just one minute per day.

Now, the effects on a more seasoned athlete who is logging in their workouts might find little benefit, especially if you are already doing HIIT.

But everything counts, so there is going to be some positive results.

Doing things at a brisker pace may help if you have to cut down the number of structured workouts you need to do to get the same cardio results.