No Time to Exercise Over Christmas? Try This

Exercise might take a backseat during the festive season but don’t neglect it altogether. Although finding the time to schedule in a gym session or a class may not be realistic in between family visits and social engagements, research has shown that just 2 minutes of rigorous exercise is enough to future-proof you against the risk of heart disease and cancer.

According to a recent study published by Nature Medicine on 25,000 UK participants, short, intense bursts of exercise like running up the stairs or speed walking for as little as 2 minutes has many positive health benefits and showed almost 50% reduction in heart disease mortality risk and around 40% reduction in the risk of death from cancer, compared with those who did no vigorous spurts of activity.

The reason is likely to be because quick blasts of intense exercise performed repeatedly, stress the cardiovascular system, increase oxygen uptake and keep cardiac arteries from clogging. It also helps the heart to pump more blood and improves its overall function.

Although such short bursts should be relatively easy to factor into your day, whatever the day, if you need some inspiration, try upping the pace of the last few hundred feet of your daily walk, take the stairs instead of the lift where possible or try carrying around 5% of your body weight (think heavy Christmas shopping bags) for a few minutes. Ideally the movement should be vigorous enough so that speaking is hard to do while you’re doing it.