Despite what Time magazine says, exercise is good for weight loss, whether you're a marathoner or stair-climber. Though we tend to think of cardio in 30-minute increments, short bursts of exercise, like taking the stairs or walking home from dinner, are also highly beneficial. In fact, doing very frequent activities throughout the day may even be better for your body.
Our ancient ancestors didn't save all their movement for one daily workout, and neither should you. It can overtax your muscles to go from sedentary to sprinting through a 30-minute gym session. Better yet, mini exercise sessions throughout the day make a major impact. Your body begins using energy and burning calories after about two minutes of activity; first you'll usually burn up carbs, followed by fat and protein.
According to the exercise guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association, we should be getting 30 minutes of accumulated moderate exercise daily. There's nothing wrong with spreading that 30 minutes out throughout the day; just make sure you're working hard enough to feel warm and slightly winded. Longer workouts offer a deeper burn, but short sessions aren't a waste of time.
Are you into quick bursts of cardio, or do you save it for your workout sessions?