How would you like to be able to enjoy the many health benefits exercise brings, with as little as 20 minutes of activity a day? According to a new study, you can, particularly when it comes to busting inflammation, the root cause of a wide range of illness and disease.
The list of well-known long-term benefits of physical exercise is long, including lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, strengthening the bones, muscles and the heart, improving metabolism and better weight control, reducing the risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. And, this recent research, shows just 20 minutes of exercise may help fight excess inflammation.
University of California, San Diego researchers find just 20 minutes of exercise busts inflammation
In the study that was published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, experts from the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine – led by Suzi Hong, Ph.D., from the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health looked into the impacts of 20-minute exercise sessions on the body’s immune system. They hypothesized that physical activity would improve the anti-inflammatory response by triggering the sympathetic nervous system.
The study included about four dozen participants who walked briskly on a treadmill for 20 minutes. Taking blood samples taken before and after the session, the researchers discovered that that simply 20-minute exercise session managed to reduce markers of inflammation, in fact, there was a 5 percent reduction in the number of immune cells that produced a protein called TNF, which, according to the researchers, is involved in the inflammatory response.
In a statement, researcher Suzi Hong who researches family medicine and psychiatry said:
“Each time we exercise, we are truly doing something good for our body on many levels, including at the immune cell level. The anti-inflammatory benefits of exercise have been known to researchers, but finding out how that process happens is the key to safely maximizing those benefits.”
She added, ” Our study shows a workout session doesn’t actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects. Twenty minutes to half-an-hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient. Feeling like a workout needs to be at a peak exertion level for a long duration can intimidate those who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases and could greatly benefit from physical activity.”
The problem with inflammation when it becomes chronic
While Inflammation is a crucial part of the body’s immune response, as its attempt to heal itself after an injury, battle against foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses, and repair damaged tissue, when it becomes chronic it can lead to some serious health problems that have been linked to obesity, celiac disease, diabetes and many other ailments.
20-MInute Workout Ideas
The good news is that you can bust that inflammation with just a 20-minute exercise session each day. Not only that, but a 2016 study by researchers at Canada’s McMaster University demonstrated that even one minute of high-intensity exercise had health benefits, such as increasing endurance and improving blood glucose levels.
Need some ideas? We’ve got them for you so that you can get started right away.
Circuit training is an ideal high-intensity workout that can pack a punch in just 20 minutes, working your body from head to toe, combining strength and cardio with just a few simple exercises. You can perform squats, lunges or mountain climbers, just be sure you use the right technique. CookingLight.com offers a great Cardio Blast Circuit Workout you can find here. You can also add light dumbbells if you want a bigger challenge. All you need is an open space, like your garage, backyard or a spare bedroom, and some fun workout music.
There’s an app for everything these days, and that includes one for short workout sessions. Sworkit can be used as a web app, on any iOS device or your Android. It’s a great way to prevent boredom, with pretty much no thinking required. All you do is choose the amount of time you have to exercise, what kind of workout you want, and then do what Sworkit tells you to do. It’ll even time each exercise for you so you don’t have to worry about looking at your watch, and if you aren’t sure how to perform one of the exercises, examples are shown on the screen to help you out. It will generate a random workout that focuses on various parts of the body, or all of it, and will work for any timeframe, even if you only have 5 minutes.
Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. You can grab a jump rope and jump away just like when you were a kid. Of course, 20 minutes of rope jumping isn’t all that easy, but you can always work up to that gradually by interspersing jumping with jogging or marching in place.
Dancing is one of the easiest, and most fun exercises you can do. All you have to do is turn up the tunes and start moving around. There’s no need to learn ballet or any complicated moves, even if you aren’t wildly jumping around, you’ll burn about the same number of calories as if you were cycling. It demands a lot of energy as it involves movement in all directions. While running, swimming and other types of propulsive physical activity use rhythm and momentum to keep you going, dancing requires lots of accelerating and decelerating, which the body is less able to do in an energy efficient way, so it requires more calories.