Exercise Doesn’t Have to be “Exercise”

According to Health and Human Services' updated physical activity guidelines, the recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise can come in small doses and still have a big impact.

The next time you walk over to a colleague's office to chat through a problem rather than hash it out over email, pat yourself on the back: You just did a twofer. That 30-second stroll down Cubicle Lane counts toward the 150 minutes of movement you should be getting each week, according to the updated Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the Department of Health and Human Services. (Does the back pat count, too?)

That's a change from the first edition of the guidelines, which indicated you needed to move at least 10 consecutive minutes for the exercise to count toward the total. The updated guidelines recognize that when it comes to the health benefits of physical activity, any movement is a step in the right direction. (See what we did there?)

"Even small chunks of activity are beneficial, like taking the stairs, walking over to a colleague's desk rather than sending an email, or taking a five-minute stretch break every hour," Bradly Prigge, a wellness exercise specialist for Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, tells Bustle in "11 Things You Do Every Day That Count As Exercise, According To Trainers."

Bustle's list includes activities like grocery shopping, mopping the floor, mowing the lawn and — how timely — shoveling snow. That got us thinking about a list of our own:

  • Dribbling that fitness ball we sometimes use as a chair.
  • Sprinting to catch the shuttle bus.
  • Taking a brisk walk across the office to retrieve a snack. (On second thought …)

If you're not convinced we're on the right track, our friends at MayoClinic.org have come up with a handy list of tips for moving more during your workday. And we've tackled a similar topic here and here.

Got some tips of your own? We'd love to hear them below. Then use the handy social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.