April 9, 2021
Don't be a weekend warrior
Being fit doesn’t require lengthy sessions at the gym or hard-core runs. Achieving the recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity can be achieved in short stints.
“Humans are meant to mill about doing their work and when a quick burst of energy is needed, they can do that— like when our ancestors hunted,” says Sartre Jean-Gilles, a registered kinesiologist and certified personal trainer. “Getting active doesn’t have to be about putting in 45-minute sessions each day. It’s about moving throughout the day.”
Jean-Gilles, who recently joined Fitness on the Go and is partnering with the Libin Cardiovascular Institute to promote lifestyle changes through the Libin Moves initiative, says there is a misconception in our society about physical activity being an addition to the day, when it should be incorporated throughout the day at work and leisure.
He notes the new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines support the idea that individuals should move every 20 minutes for at least 90 seconds, breaking up periods of sedentary behaviour, such as sitting at a desk, for optimal mental and physical wellbeing. This could be as simple as taking a break to do a household chore or even a set from a workout.
“As long as you get your movement in over the week, you are going to reap the benefits,” says Jean-Gilles, noting science has shown activity reduces anxiety and depression and decreases the odds of cardiovascular disease.
Jean-Gilles says he advises people to form sustainable habits that incorporate more movement into daily activities. He provided the example of taking a 10-minute walk after every meal.
“If you add it up, that’s 210 minutes per week,” he says. “Incorporating exercise into your daily living will make a difference over time.”