Physical activity recommendations traditionally focus on accumulating moderate-to-vigorous activity either in a continuous manner, like a 30-minute run, or in short bouts performed throughout the day (i.e., three bouts of 10 minutes). Most daily activity is performed sporadically and in bouts typically shorter than 10 minutes. Therefore, investigators reviewed the scientific evidence to determine whether physical activity episodes of less than 10 minutes provide health-related benefits.
Researchers found that physical activity accumulated in bouts of less than 10 minutes was associated with a variety of positive health-related outcomes. This is important for individuals who are unwilling or unable to engage in physical activity for longer than 10 minutes. These findings provide evidence for behavioral recommendations that promote using stairs and parking further away from one’s destination. Findings also contribute to an emerging area of research suggesting all physical activity, regardless of duration, offers health-related benefits.
In this blog by ACSM member and co-author Kyle Sprow, MPH, CSCS, from the National Cancer Institute, you’ll read a summary of this pronouncement and the evidence behind changes to the bout duration guidelines.