No Time for Exercise? Get Moving with One-Minute Exercise

The Doctor Weighs In
7 min readApr 13, 2021

Small bursts of exercise throughout the day can be just as beneficial as one longer session. Set your phone alarm to remind you to do it throughout the day.

By Ilchi Lee

April 13, 2021

I believe everyone can integrate multiple one-minute exercise sessions into their day. Read on.(Photo by @beachbumledford via Twenty20)

When people comment about not getting enough exercise, they usually say they can’t develop a good exercise routine (1) because they don’t have enough time. I can sympathize with this to some degree since people today are indeed busy, rushing here and there with a long list of appointments and tasks to accomplish.

However, I believe that they do have time, but they simply have misconceptions about what exercise needs to be. Exercise (2) does not need to involve a trip to a gym or an exercise class. And, it does not have to take up a lot of time. Instead, it can be spread over your day, completed in short, one-minute bursts.

Do You Suffer from Being Sedentary Too?

According to the World Health Organization, more and more people, up to 85% of the world’s population, are sitting more and moving less. In a recent report, they commented:

“Sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, doubles the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression, and anxiety.”(3)

Research into hunter-gatherer societies shows that the human body is designed to spend the day in motion,(4) but that’s not what is happening anymore in our modern industrial society.

Erin Donnelly Michos, MD, writing for the John Hopkins Medicine website, calls this “sitting disease,” and comments that even fitness buffs can experience these problems if they spend a lot of time sitting at work.

She noticed how she was sitting way too much, even though she was running 4–5 hours every morning: “I have a long commute, so I was spending two hours in my car. On days I’m not doing rounds, I’m doing



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