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Myth: If you can’t exercise for at least 30 minutes, there aren’t any benefits

TRUTH: While exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week shows clear cardiovascular benefits, burning extra calories throughout the day has been shown to have similar benefits.  If you don’t have time for a full workout, take 10 3-minute breaks throughout the day and walk around, do some lunges (I like do to mine while brushing my teeth), or hop in place at your desk.

The point is that you should do things that get your heart rate up, even if it’s only for short periods.  Here are a few suggestions on ways to do it:

  1. Power Errands.  Power walk through and between errands.  The more you get weighed down by groceries or stuff, the more calories you’ll burn.
  2. Walk home.  Get off the subway or the bus a stop early.  Now that the brutal summer heat is calming down, you can spend time outdoors AND benefit from the additional walking.
  3. Dance.  At home…if you want.  Or, when you’re out this weekend!  Maybe you’ll look silly but it’ll burn extra calories and make you appear very confident and socially available. 
  4. Clean.  You remember wax on/wax off, right? Well, it works to learn karate and burn calories.  Make your apartment shiny while really getting your arms to feel the burn.
  5. Take the stairs.  Even if you only work on the 3rd floor, taking the stairs increases your heart rate and can be exhausting!

BOTTOM LINE: Just as eating several small pieces of candy throughout the day adds up calorically, so does small amounts of exercise to burn calories.  Which will you choose?


  1. National Public Radio:
  2. ABC’s Health News:

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