This article originally appeared on NPR.
It's time to fact check exercise. The truth is that you don't have to be a marathoner or a gym rat to get meaningful health benefits from exercise.
"I've been astounded that even up until today, very educated people don't know — don't believe — that walking actually 'counts' as valid exercise," says Michelle Segar, a sport and health psychologist at the University of Michigan.
Walking absolutely "counts" as exercise, as do a lot of other activities that don't require a sweatband or special gear.
Let's bust some common misconceptions about exercise right here:
- You've got to sweat in order to reap health benefits. False.
- You must exercise in 30-minute, uninterrupted stretches. False.
- You need to really "feel the burn" or it doesn't count. False.
So what does count and where do you begin? We've got four tactics to help you start (or restart) an exercise habit that can stick. It's a lot easier than you think.