Breaking Down Exercise to Gain Benefits – Megan Mansell AEP

I recently presented to a group of older adults most of whom had been through or were currently going through cancer treatment, as well as other health issues. We were discussing the benefits of exercise on cancer and mental health and the associated recommendations. One of the main concerns expressed was how daunting exercise seemed when starting out and that they wouldn’t be able to achieve the general guidelines. This is a similar concern and barrier that is expressed across all populations due to fatigue, low fitness or time constraints. I am a believer that starting small and building up is a good place to start, with the goal of achieving the recommended 150mins of exercise per week. Many seem skeptical that accumulating 10min blocks of exercise would give them benefits and feel that it often isn’t worth it. So what are the benefits of accumulating small bouts of exercise? A study was conducted recently on a small trial group of sedentary office workers over the course of eight weeks. During this time the participants were required to do 6x5min blocks of cardiovascular exercise and 2x10min blocks of stretching each day, to be completed at work.  The results of the study showed that there were significant differences in BMI, body weight, VO2max, cardiac output, body fat percentage, flexibility, total cholesterol and quadriceps strength.

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