This weekend I’m a single parent. Michael and Janelle, off on their biannual camping trip for the Indian Princess program, are ditching me for a cabin in the woods.
Better him than me, I say. I hate camping. Nothing is more miserable to me than waking up outside in freezing weather. If I lived in prehistoric times, I would have been the biggest diva cavewoman in the tribe. And most likely killed by my own clan for excessive whining. So I gladly wave and kiss them good-bye as I stay snuggly and warm in my 21st century abode.
But that leaves all chauffeuring responsibilities to me this weekend and between the school dance, soccer, a bar mitzvah, a birthday party and field hockey tryouts, I’m not sure I can get it all in. Plus, somewhere in there I’m supposed to find time to exercise. When exactly is that supposed to happen? The only time I have free is between 10 pm and 6 am and I kind of plan on sleeping then.
My dilemma reminded me of a study I recently read about the amount of exercise that’s required to be healthy.
Federal guidelines suggest getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, and that’s still the goal. BUT, according to Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), even small amounts of aerobic exercise help lower coronary heart disease risk.
Jacob Sattelmair, author of the AHA study said, "Even a little bit of activity makes a significant difference." And by a little bit, he means 10 to 15 minutes a day.
Thus while we still need to try and get our required 150 minutes in, on the weeks where life intervenes, doing something, even a small activity is still beneficial.
This is fabulous news. For some reason I tend to think of exercise as a one-hour gym experience and if my schedule doesn’t accommodate that kind of time, I don’t do it at all. And what this new study suggests is that even if you do a little exercise, you’re still impacting your health in a good way.
So, while I might struggle to carve out two hours of gym-time this weekend, I can squeeze in a quick walk with Snickers around the neighborhood and stroll around the soccer field while simultaneously watching Grant’s game. (Which I’m going to have to do to keep warm because the game is at 8 o’clock in the morning. Who makes up these schedules anyway? A polar bear?)
Exercise isn’t an all-or-nothing concept. Every little bit does help.