Got 10 minutes? OK, how about two minutes? Oh, all right – 10 seconds?
Of course, you do – Especially once I impart knowledge gleaned over the last day. Taking even these minuscule amounts of time can save your life or add years to it, so let’s get healthy in 10 seconds!
Let’s start with 10 seconds
That’s all the time you’ll need to check your balance, and having good balance is imperative. Without it, you’re more prone to falling, which is frighteningly common in the United States. Every year, 28 percent of U.S. adults over age 65 experience some type of fall. In Texas, that number is 33 percent.
While not every fall results in an injury, nearly 40 percent of older adults who report falling sustain an injury that requires medical treatment – or at the very least restricts their movement for a day. That adds up to eight million fall-caused injuries every year. One more sobering statistic? According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths.
How to Get Healthy in 10 Seconds
So back to how to get healthy in 10 seconds. According to a Brazilian study published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, if you can stand on one leg for 10 seconds, you have a better chance of living longer. Put more soberly: the inability to do that was connected to a doubled risk of dying from any cause within 10 years. The study included 1,700 participants aged 51 to 71; one in three did not pass the test.
What if You Can’t Stand for 10 Seconds?
If you can’t stand for 10 seconds, don’t panic. Practice until you can. A caveat: Be careful when you’re doing it. Have a chair or countertop handy, and don’t be embarrassed to use either one. The New York Times offers some tips and balance exercises.
2 Minutes: Improve Your Health by Walking
What do you usually do after finishing a meal, aside from clearing the table? Yeah, probably retreat to the couch. Well, if someone, me for instance, told you that instead of doing that, you could walk for a mere two minutes to improve your health, would you do it? Of course, you would, especially if you have diabetes, are pre-diabetic, or are prone to diabetes.
Researchers looked at seven studies comparing the results of sitting, standing, or walking on heart health measures, including blood sugar and insulin levels. Results showed that walking significantly impacted blood sugar levels, even in small increments of two to five minutes. Standing helped somewhat, but not to the degree walking did.
Plus, moving just feels good, and being outside feels even better.
10 Minutes: Aerobic Activity for a Healthier Life
You’ve probably heard how much physical activity the American Heart Association recommends we all get: 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, 75 minutes of vigorous activity or a combination of both. Include strengthening exercises twice a week, and you’re good to go — especially if you get 300 minutes per week of that moderate-intensity movement.
That averages out to about 30 minutes a day. And if a 30-minute block of time sounds like too much, what’s 30 divided by three? Ten! I bet that you can find three 10-minute increments of time. Your health is well worth it!
So go for a walk around the block. Put on your favorite music and dance for 10 minutes (two songs, maybe three!).
Do 10 minutes of running in place or jumping jacks every few hours. Add some countertop push-ups while your coffee reheats. Or you can sit and stand during commercials, and you are good to go.
Making Movement a Habit
It’s all a matter of making movement a habit.
Decide that you will follow one or all these tips daily, and then do it. You’ll get to the point where you just won’t feel right if you don’t follow through.
Write on a calendar every time you pop in some extra movement. That’s what I do, using a different color marker for each type of exercise I do. By the week’s end or the month’s end, you’ll have a rainbow-filled calendar and feel darn good about yourself – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Do yourself a favor, get up and get moving.
Want more ways to use snippets of time? Click here for the story I wrote for The Dallas Morning News.