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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shorter Bouts Of Exercise Can Be Effective



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For busy exercisers, it’s a HIIT photo
Personal trainer Mark Messer (background) times Leigh Price on a Rope Pull exercise during her High Intensity Interval Training workout at Messer Fit Cross Fit in Lebanon, Ohio Thursday, April 18, 2013. HIIT enables clients to work out for shorter periods of time while losing more weight and gaining more muscle. NICK DAGGY / STAFF

By Clark Howard


Fifteen minutes a day is all it takes to change your life for the better.

One third of Americans don't exercise ever. For me, I do it almost daily and it really helps me clear my head more than anything else. Normally, I use the elliptical machine or I run just about every day of the week, plus I lift weights several times each week.

The number of people working out is up over the last 5 years. New federal data shows the percent of people either doing 150 minutes of walking/light cardio or 75 minutes of jogging/moderate cardio is up to 50% of all American adults.

One in 5 are obsessive like me doing both aerobic and strength training. Yet half of us are not with the program and do no exercising at all.

This is time of year it's easier to get with the program. People tend to get outside as weather gets better. There's an area I have run for years and this time of year it's very crowded. By the time September comes, you'll feel like the Lone Ranger.

Having a partner can help sustain your exercise habit if you're new to it, especially for women.

Just 15 minutes a day will make big difference in your health, according to a study I read about some time ago in The San Francisco Chronicle.

"One study of more than 400,000 adults in Taiwan…found that 15 minutes of moderate exercise, six days a week, reduced the risk of death by 14 percent compared with people who aren't active at all," the newspaper reported.

I know our guidelines here in America say at least 30 minutes a day three times a week. But the Taiwan study shows that if you are a couch potato and you do something as simple as go out to walk for 15 minutes, it reduces your mortality rate significantly.

You don't have to pump iron or run marathons. That first 15 minutes has a big payoff for you and your health. Think about it: 15 minutes is one ninety-sixth of a day. C'mon, anybody can do that!