VIDEO: 23 and 1/2 Hours -- What is the Single Best Thing We Can Do for Our Health?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  43 comments   :  41,544 Views

When you look at your day, how much of it is spent sitting or being sedentary? For a lot of people the answer to that is most of their day. Many people might find that they spend 8+ hours sitting at work and then come home and sit some more, whether it is to watch TV or for some other sedentary activity. We then go to bed and sleep the rest of the time. That’s a lot of time spent each day being sedentary!
So what can we do that has the biggest impact on our health to help counterbalance all that sedentary activity? Dr. Mike Evans, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael's Hospital, created a video to help us learn what the best thing we can do for our health.
In looking at several studies that are mentioned in the video, Dr. Evans suggests that exercise is the best medicine. However, his findings keep it somewhat simple: 30 minutes of exercise each day can make a large impact on your health. Even more interesting is that the studies suggest that you can break up your 30 minutes of exercise throughout your day and you will still receive the large health benefits from it. To some of you that may not be new news or it may sound familiar to what you may have read here on the dailySpark or on the SparkPeople Message Boards. That’s right - we believe that small bits of fitness throughout your day add up too.
Being busy and having a hectic schedule doesn’t mean you are destined to an unhealthy life. Making time for 30 minutes in your day to be active/exercise can make a tremendous amount of difference in the way you feel and in your health overall. Even making small changes throughout your day can make a difference. Some of the more simple and small things you can try that do make a difference: taking the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car further away from the store, or be active during TV commercials (or during the whole show). Remember, this does not have to be an all-or-nothing approach, nor do you have to make drastic changes to have a healthy and active lifestyle.

Let’s bust the “lack of time” exercise excuse! As Dr. Evans points out in his video, 30 minutes a day is all it takes to make a big impact on your health. When you look at your day like that, out of 24 hours, we can give ourselves 30 minutes to improve our health, right? I’m willing to find time in my day to exercise for at least 30 minutes to help lower the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, depression and increase my quality of life. How about you?

Below is the very well illustrated video that Dr. Evans created. To view it, please click play or click here.


Can/do you limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23 ½ hours a day (or less)? What tips or suggestions do you have for those that are sedentary for most of the day and need help finding time to exercise?

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  • 43
    This is one of my favorite videos - but everything Dr. Mike Evans does is great - he has a very gentle, common-sense approach. - 2/23/2016   8:30:19 AM
  • 42
    What scares me is that I know KIDS who complain about taking the stairs. - 8/25/2014   10:16:36 AM
    A friend of mine showed me this video. It's excellent! - 3/3/2012   11:03:19 PM
    This is getting shared on my facebook-well done, an excellent video. - 1/30/2012   11:13:27 AM
  • 39
    GREAT video. I'm going to post it on facebook where some of my loved ones who very much need to decrease their sedentary time and increase their activity will see it. - 1/29/2012   1:58:10 PM
    This video is excellent - everyone should watch it! - 1/29/2012   1:19:36 PM
  • 37
    I saw this a few months back, great video and so true...30 mins is really not much in a day. - 1/29/2012   1:07:05 PM
  • 36
    Wonderful insight into just how important exercise really is!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Spark On! - 1/28/2012   4:56:28 PM
  • 35
    really puts exercise into perspective and makes it seem so easy! I will remember the 10 minute at a time idea, because everyone has 10 minutes 3 times a day to be active. - 1/27/2012   6:36:21 PM
  • 128PERFECT
    Very informative .......I am trying to do at least that. - 1/27/2012   2:38:54 PM
    Wonderful video! Some really great information in a short amount of time and interesting presentation! - 1/27/2012   12:49:12 PM
  • 32
    Excellent video. Makes a VERY good point. I used to view 30 minutes as impossible to find the time to exercise. However, that was very bad logic on my part. Sometimes we just get too caught up in our lives...... - 1/27/2012   9:42:34 AM
    Just tweeted and liked. I really enjoyed the way he turned it around and said we should be sedentary for less than 23.5 hours a day. Puts just how lazy we can be in perspective. - 1/27/2012   8:29:38 AM
  • 30
    Excellent video and good information. Very well done and very motivating. I'm going to hit the treadmill now. :) - 1/27/2012   5:55:59 AM
  • 29
    It certainly makes very interesting viewing - and puts a very strong case for small changes that add up to big returns!! - 1/26/2012   11:29:41 PM
  • 28
    Great info. Great presentation. - 1/26/2012   9:58:19 PM
  • 27
    Interesting. - 1/26/2012   7:06:59 PM
  • 26
    Really great video! Right now my weight loss is frustratingly stalled but I do work out every day. It's nice to know I'm doing something right. - 1/26/2012   5:41:29 PM
  • 25
    i love the illustrations... and the information too! - 1/26/2012   5:09:45 PM
  • 24
    I think I'd go nuts if I was sitting down/sleeping for 23.5 hours a day. I think I typically spend at least half an hour walking/dancing around in my apartment while listening to music each day (not in an effort to be active or anything, but just because I'm fidgety!). I also walk to class and sometimes I walk to do my grocery shopping instead of taking the bus, so I guess I'm good...Still, I am only 26, so I probably should be more active :/ Maybe I should walk or ride my bike every time I go shopping.

    I've been thinking about getting a dog. It probably would be good for me since I live alone, but I just don't know if I'm ready for that big of a long term commitment while I'm still in school and don't know where I'll be headed next... - 1/26/2012   4:27:41 PM
  • 23
    I knew excercise was important, but didnīt realize it made such a tremendous difference. Thank you. I WILL keep up with it more seriously now. - 1/26/2012   2:40:46 PM
    Loved this. Many people dont realize how easy it is to do something. sitting on their exercise ball while watching tv or computer,picking the ball up and down,doing twists with the ball or weight. I do things all the time in front of the tv. you can watch tv and put your hand on your exercise ball spread your feet a little wide than shoulder and do lunges, I lose count because I am multitasking. anything helps . I say use it or lose it some of my friends can hardly do anything at 51 years old and I am like lets go..go..go and they look at me with all my energy. but a health issue put the weight on it is up to me to get it off. Good Luck everyone God Bless - 1/26/2012   1:56:09 PM
  • 21
    We CAN do this! YES! - 1/26/2012   1:39:02 PM
  • 20
    Thank you for sharing this! I am definitely on board with his message. Presented very well, too! - 1/26/2012   1:11:52 PM
  • 19
    Sure, I can do that if I don't spend any time reading, sewing, talking to my husband, or keeping up with news online. - 1/26/2012   12:54:42 PM
  • 18
    Great video. Great information. Thank you! - 1/26/2012   12:37:37 PM
    Seriously valid questions. Great presentation. I am making it my goal to limit my sedentary behavior to less than 23 1/2 hours a day. - 1/26/2012   12:23:27 PM
  • 16
    Great video, very inspiring! - 1/26/2012   12:09:47 PM
    This was great i love it!
    - 1/26/2012   11:57:26 AM
  • 14
    I LOVE this!! I posted it on my status a while ago and no one even took a look. I think this is so helpful! - 1/26/2012   11:34:11 AM
  • 13
    This was an EXCELLENT presentation! Thank you! - 1/26/2012   11:14:38 AM
  • 12
    Great video, very inspiring! And particularly for me this week, when I working very long hours, it CAN be challenging to fit in exercise. My backup exercise is not very glamorous, but walking in front of the t.v. set or dancing while watching t.v. is what I do when I can't fit in my usual exercise. I PREFER walking with friends or going to the gym but sometimes I just can't; so I walk while I watch t.v. - 1/26/2012   11:06:31 AM
    My son sat next to me to watch this. He really enjoyed the way it was presented. I did too! ; ) - 1/26/2012   10:58:14 AM
    I was going to take a break from exercise today. Not now though! - 1/26/2012   10:40:52 AM
  • 9
    The presentation could not have been any better. Very motivating and illustrator Liisa Sorsa is fantastic. Thank you Dr. Mike and Sparkpeople for posting this. - 1/26/2012   10:32:50 AM
  • 8
    Loved this! Love the simplicity of the message. - 1/26/2012   10:14:43 AM
  • 7
    Funny - I actually watched this video last week in school. I LOVED it! Thanks so much for sharing :) - 1/26/2012   9:55:21 AM
  • 6
    WOW--Loved this video. The way it is presented is so entertaining (the fast drawings are FUN!), but the message is also very clear. Exercise is the BEST (and cheapest) medicine! - 1/26/2012   9:35:26 AM
  • 5
    excellent video - 1/26/2012   9:32:18 AM
    The best diet/exercise plan I have ever found is cancelling my cable/satellite TV subscription:)
    - 1/26/2012   9:30:25 AM
  • 3
    I agree about the exercise. I try to do it at least 60 minutes a day. I feel really good after the exercises Ihave done. - 1/26/2012   9:28:45 AM
  • 2
    Over the years, my job has become less active due to a decrease in business. As a result, I am spending more time at my desk than I'd like. What do I do ? I've been taking a 30+ minute walk at lunch. walking is not only great cardiovascular exercise, but it helps me relax by getting away from the various stresses at the desk. I do love getting outside for a regular walk. - 1/26/2012   9:26:07 AM
    One of the most compelling arguments showing how the small changes we make can give us the biggest return for our time--and that is our health. Exercise is medicine! - 1/26/2012   9:23:57 AM

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