Be Active for Life – Every Little Bit Helps!

Want to combat a sedentary lifestyle?  We’ve all heard the spiel…

  • Walk 10,000 steps a day.
  • Do 30 minutes of activity in a single session.
  • Take the stairs, even if it’s just once a day.
  • If you don’t do at least 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at a time, it doesn’t count.
  • Park further from the store.
  • Join an intensive boot camp, then you can rest for the remainder of the day.

The advice goes on and on – as do the contradictions.

What REALLY matters when it comes to long-term good health?  Is it duration… intensity… type of activity?  Researchers may have the answer.

Researchers gathered data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2006 along with mortality data.  They estimated intensity-specific activity using activity counts and evaluated light, moderate to vigorous as well as total activity.  Over 4500 adults aged 40 years or older were followed for almost seven years.  During that time there were 700 deaths.

By comparing the various combinations of time and intensity, they were able to determine that across the board, total time of activity is the biggest factor!  The old adage that “every little bit helps” is true when it comes to your health!

Researchers found that increasing light activity was associated with less mortality.  They also found that when comparing equal activity times, those who did more moderate to vigorous tasks received additional benefits for that extra effort.

Often, especially for those who have been inactive, the thought of starting a major exercise program is daunting.  Feeling overwhelmed and doomed to fail, they simply never start.

This research shows that it isn’t necessary to commit to vigorous or intense training programs to make a difference in longevity.  Simple things like taking a walk to the mailbox, circling the grocery store an extra time or two before checking out, can be a starting place.  More vigorous activity does have benefits, so it should not be ignored or discounted.  Living, does not always equate living WELL.

While moderate to vigorous activity is needed for optimal health, this study shows encouraging evidence for those just starting to become more active that even small steps will have a positive impact on health.  Then, as strength and endurance are gained, there will always be new, more challenging activities to explore.

So, take those first steps towards better health.  Talk to your doctor at your next visit about your activity level and how you can begin taking small steps towards better health.  If you do not have a regular chiropractor, you can find a TCA member doctor here.

REFERENCE: “Volume of Light Versus Moderate‐to‐Vigorous Physical Activity: Similar Benefits for All‐Cause Mortality?”  Pedro F. Saint‐Maurice, Richard P. Troiano, David Berrigan, William E. Kraus, Charles E. Matthews.   Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018;7:e008815.  April 2, 2018.


This article is being shared as part of TCA’s
“Realign Your Thinking” public-awareness campaign – 
helping Tennesseans understand what chiropractic care offers
and the positive role it plays in the overall health care system.