You wanted to run this morning, but one of the kids missed the bus, so you spent the time before work playing taxi instead. The presentation ran over, so that nixed your chance to go for that run during lunch. The time after work is a frenzy of cooking, errands and household chores. By the time you’re done, there’s only half an hour of sunlight. Is it worth heading out anyway?
A series of studies indicate that the answer is yes. People who engaged in short bursts of exercise had the same health gains as people who exercised for longer at a time. The effect was particularly dramatic in people who did interval training, such as walking for a minute, then spending another minute running flat-out.
The benefits of exercise go beyond weight loss and heart health. People who get in even 20 minutes of exercise, especially if it’s outdoor exercise, have lower levels of stress and report higher levels of personal fulfillment.
So, even on the days when it seems that responsibilities are eating the bulk of your time, carve out a little time for you. You may not get the whole time you wanted, but, every minute you spend taking care of yourself is worth it.