Eating well and exercise are fundamental to our health. Unlike genetics, we can make choices regarding what (and how much) we eat and how (and how much) we exercise.

There are three types of people when it comes to exercise. Those who do an amount they are happy with, those who wish they were doing more, and those who don’t care.

Hopefully, you are not in the last group. If you are in the middle group, which many people are in, you likely have said (to yourself, if not to anyone else) you would exercise more if you had the time.

My suggestion for this is to change your perspective from “I don’t have the time” to “I haven’t made the time”.

We are all busy with work and our home lives, but we all make decisions every day about what we spend our time doing.

It’s important to make the time for exercise — and some exercise is better than none at all.

Watching TV while sitting on a stationary bike, or while walking on a treadmill, even if you aren’t working as hard as you would if you were in a spin class or running, is way better than not doing any exercise.

Taking that concept further, here are excerpts from an article I read in the New York Times:

As little as 20 seconds of brisk stair climbing, done several times a day, might be enough exercise to improve fitness, according to a study.

The study finds that people can complete a meaningful series of insta-workouts without leaving their office building or even changing out of their dress shoes, offering hope — and eliminating excuses — for those of us convinced that we have inadequate time, expertise, income or footwear to exercise.

People often blame jammed schedules for neglected workouts. Such perceived time constraints have fueled interest in exercise that is short but strenuous, substituting intensity for duration. These types of workouts, structured as interval sessions, consist of brief spurts of high-intensity exercise, such as 20 seconds of all-out pedaling on a stationary bicycle, interspersed with periods of rest.

But typical high-intensity interval workouts, in practice, are lengthier and less convenient than many of us might hope. They typically require time to reach the gym or running path, change, warm up, and shower, in addition to the formal exercise.

Stair climbing emerged as one option. Clambering up a stairwell demands physical effort but little planning, travel. or cost, since most office buildings contain stairs.

In one study, sedentary people who completed three, 20-second bouts of climbing stairs, performed in one session with several minutes of rest between the climbing, increased their fitness by about 12 percent after six weeks. That workout required about 10 minutes or so of uninterrupted time.

For a second study, the researchers decided to see whether it was feasible to break the workout into a series of “exercise snacks” spread throughout the day.

Their hope was that a single quick burst of stair climbing would be strenuous enough to prompt improvements in fitness if it were repeated multiple times, even with hours in between.

To find out, they recruited 24 healthy but inactive college students, tested their endurance and leg power using a specialized stationary bicycle, and randomly assigned them either to continue with their normal lives as a control group or start exercise snacking.

The exercisers reported to the physiology building’s stairwell. There, the researchers directed them to warm up with a few jumping jacks, squats and lunges and then hurry up 60 steps — three flights of stairs — as quickly as they could, one step at a time, while using the guardrail for safety. These ascents lasted about 20 seconds.

And that was the workout. The volunteers repeated these abbreviated exercise snacks twice more that day, usually at lunch and again in the afternoon, for a total intense exercise time of about a minute.

By the end of six weeks, the exercisers had increased their aerobic fitness by about 5 percent. (While not as much as the single sessions of repeated stair climbing, it’s better than not doing it!)

“We are not suggesting that this type of exercise can or should” replace all other physical activity, one of the study authors said. “But it is one possible way for people who think they are too busy to work out to fit exercise into their lives.”

What kinds of exercise snacks are you going to add to your daily routine? Join the conversation with your comments…

Best regards,