Two Bismarck health experts say, less is more when it comes to exercise and sleep


A new study conducted by Harvard University says small amounts of exercise can have huge impacts on health.

In this case, less is more.

Many of us are sleeping and exercising less these days but this new study says that’s not a bad thing.

Rachel Iverson, registered dietician at Sanford says, “It was a really cool study. They actually took physical activity trackers and they put them on a tribe in Africa who was still living the hunter/gather lifestyle.”

Iverson says times are changing. According to Harvard Professor David Lieberman’s study for his book Exercised, the global pandemic has slowed people down.

Iverson explains, “A lot of our thoughts around health are that because we’re sitting so much, because we’re so sedentary during our workday and our leisure time, that’s when we’re a lot of increased risk of cardiovascular disease, increase in risk of diabetes.”

She adds, “Americans sit on average 10 or more hours a day. But when they looked at the members of the hunter/gather tribe, they were sitting around 10 hours a day as well.”

She says the difference when it comes to matters of health is interrupted sitting like getting up every hour or so.

Iverson says, “You get up to get some tea, to pet your dog, maybe bounce on an exercise ball. Those are the things that are making a difference health-wise.”

Proximal 50’s Personal Trainer Rochelle McEvers agrees.

McEvers says, “The pandemic has really put us all in a not really ideal situation. At home you could start. We all have to go grocery shopping. So instead of carrying six bags, killing your fingertips, take one bag in at a time. Empty it, get a little bounce in your step.”

She adds, in general, if 10,000 steps feels out of reach, it’s OK to shoot for less — just as long as you’re focused on movement.

Iverson says, “It’s not really about intense physical activity. Again, it’s about the small movements of creating a health lifestyle and working with your day instead of trying to force activity into it.”

The same goes for sleep. She says if you’re not getting a full eight hours of sleep a night don’t be so hard on yourself.

Iverson explains, “We need to be gentle with ourselves. We need to learn what our routines are and what makes us feel good, and not pay quite so much attention to statistics and what other people are thinking.”

She says those gentle interrupted movements throughout your day can be as simple as taking a short walk with your friend while holding a coffee or even gardening in the summer.

She adds, even though those large goals are exciting, taking small actions steps in the direction of your goals will help you get there quicker.

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