The good news is that it is. Since 2008, federal guidelines have reminded us that exercising for 30 minutes each day, five days a week is crucial to staying young and healthy. However, for a long time, it was assumed that these 30 minutes needed to be completed all at once, rather than in multiple intervals spread throughout the day. It was believed that moderate-to-vigorous exercise resulted in substantial health benefits if it took place for 10 or more minutes.
However, a new study published this month in the Journal of the American Heart Association took a two-minute walk 15 times a day is just as beneficial to your longevity as a 15-minute walk twice a day, or 30 minutes at a go.
In the study, researchers analyzed data from 4,840 men and women past the age of 40 had worn accelerometers to track their daily movements since 2002. This data was compared to how many of the men and women lived through 2011 and found that those who managed to get in an hour of physical activity a day were half as likely to die as those moved around for 20 minutes or less per day. However, it didn't seem to matter whether they did 30 minutes on the treadmill or short bursts of activity like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or just stretching your legs around the office in between projects.
So, what does this study teach us? The message is that all physical activity counts. The little things that people do every day can and do add up and affect the risk for disease and death. The research is also keeping up with another recent study which found that taking short walks every day significantly reduces the risk of heart failure in post-menopausal women. Furthermore, in another study, it found that sporadic bursts of light physical activity were beneficial to longevity as a sweaty session at the gym.
Of course, it goes without saying that prolonging your life and getting fit are not one and the same. So if you're looking to improve your body and get those abs, you'll still need to push your endurance and get in at least a solid half hour of intense cardio. However, if your aim is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and delay the onset of age, two minute walks suffice.