If you cant exercise regularly, why bother?
It takes ten to 12 weeks of regular exercise to become fit that is, to improve your performance on a treadmill (a measure of your oxygen capacity). But your health can improve after that first brisk walk or run.
Take a 50-year-old man who is somewhat overweight and typically has moderately elevated blood sugar, triglycerides, or blood pressure, says Stanfords William Haskell. A single bout of exercise of moderate intensity like 30 to 40 minutes of brisk walking will lower those numbers.
And not just while youre moving. If you exercise at, say, five oclock in the afternoon, the improvement will be there the next morning, he adds.
That may be why postal carriers (or others who are active at work) have a lower risk of heart disease than postal clerks (or others who are sedentary at work). Theres not much difference in their fitness levels, but the carriers have lower blood sugar, triglycerides, and blood pressure, says Haskell.
People should still try to at least follow the Center for Disease Controls modest advice to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most or preferably all days of the week, he adds. But if you cant, dont let that stop you from taking even a single walk.
Every bout has benefits, says Haskell.
Illustrations: Loel Barr