The First 20 Minutes by Gretchen Reynolds

The First 20 Minutes

A cutting-edge prescription for exercise by the New York Times “Phys Ed” columnist At one point or another, nearly every person who works out wonders: Am I doing this right? Which class is best? Do I work out enough? Answering those questions and more, The First 20 Minutes helps both weekend warriors dedicated to their performance and readers who simply want to get and stay fit gain the most from any workout. With the latest findings about t...

Details The First 20 Minutes

TitleThe First 20 Minutes
Release DateApr 26th, 2012
PublisherHudson Street Press
GenreNonfiction, Health, Audiobook, Psychology

Reviews The First 20 Minutes

  • Maria
    Very good book. The style is a little wordy for me. Similar to 'The Power of Yoga', I'd have preferred to have more bullet points and less history of scientific discoveries. Therefore, I summarized the key points myself:1) Inactivity is the greatest public health threat of this century. A great deal of the physical effects that we once thought were caused by aging are actually the results of inactivity. 2) Although 'Health' and 'Fitness' are ofte...
  • David
    This is a very entertaining and informative book about the benefits of exercise. Gretchen Reynolds explores how much, and what types of exercise are really useful for improving one's health and well-being. The more you exercise (up to a point), the better one's fitness. However, there is a law of diminishing returns--you can exercise a little--say 20 minutes a day--and get a significant benefit. or you can exercise a lot, and get just a tiny bit ...
  • Gayle Fleming
    I heard Gretchen Reynolds on NPR and bought the book immediately. As a sixty-four year old woman who ran a marathon at fifty and cycled 334 miles in three days at fifty-five, this book has just been a wealth if new scientific insights on fitness and health. I really appreciate that while many of the research studies are done on young male athletes, she has gone out of her way to find studies on older non-athletes and women. The information on exe...
  • Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
    Whether you've never exercised in your life or you're a professional, competitive sportsperson this is a must read. Exercise helps depression, reduces the negative effects of stress, anxiety, and anger, encouraging a calmer and happier disposition, and makes you smarter from better blood flow to the brain, enhances memory and general brain functioning (neurogenesis). A difference can be seen 6-8 weeks after starting regular exercise. It's also th...
  • Teresa Slack
    I wanted to start a new exercise regimen so I picked up this book for inspiration. Unless you've been in a coma since grade school and have learned nothing new in the ensuing decades about fitness, everything within these pages and its never ending paragraphs will give you no updated information. I even checked the publication date to see if The First Twenty Minutes had been released several years ago. Nope, it's a new release. I would love to co...
  • Kali
    this book was filled with bad jokes and extended descriptions of recent exercise studies that would end with "what does this mean for you? probably nothing." awesome. awkwardly written, full of unnecessary information, and totally unclear who the target audience was -- if this was a book for beginners (as it seemed to be) why include so many studies that pertained information admittedly only relevant to ulta-athletes? the last chapter talked abou...
  • Perci N.
    "Inactivity is the greatest public health threat of this century. And it is almost completely preventable."Picked up and finished this book this morning. Read it mostly while standing or pacing. It's the best non-fiction I've read in years, because it repeatedly shows me that I'm doing it wrong, that society is doing it wrong, and how to fix that and stop sucking ass at life.The most fit I've been in my entire life was in my early 20's when I was...
  • Anna
    I loved this! For one thing, Gretchen Reynolds is quite funny and down to earth. She amuses me going on about how slow a runner she is (which I don't really believe but I appreciate the self-deprecating tone). There were plenty of things I already knew (stretching before a work out is pointless) but a lot of things that I really didn't (ice baths are pointless and so is massage - physiologically). There were also some comforting things (I'm never...
  • Jud Barry
    The title makes it sound like the kind of ad you'll see on google or facebook (or even goodreads?), the kind that begs you to click through so you can see how a "weird tip" will cause you to "cut flab," and that you learned long ago never to follow because the promise of a quick answer is always false. Always.So, bad title maybe, but hey, you've already got the book (ideally, it's a library copy), so why not click through? The result is more than...
  • Stewart Home
    There isn't much in here that anyone with an interest in the subject won't already know. The same research has been widely covered by newspapers and magazines - and in fact the book reads rather like a fitness magazine converted to book format. It is heavily biased towards cardio activities such as running and the chapter on strength training is very thin. Typical of Reynolds' grating journalistic tropes is that when writing about the success of ...
  • Mark
    At first I was impressed at how many scientific studies the author relied on, but as I read on, page after page of animal torture just left me feeling disgusted and depressed. If you are someone who cares about animals at all: DON'T READ THIS BOOK. I wish some of the other reviews here had warned me about it! There is also NO BIBLIOGRAPHY, which I find incredibly suspect given the author's extreme reliance on so many scientific studies/papers to ...
  • Martin
    Comments based on advanced reader’s copy. I am an experienced distance runner and former competitive athlete. This is by far the best RATIONAL book about exercise and fitness. The author is a NY Times columnist and she assembles, in a very readable format, quality scientific evidence based elements related to, diet, exercise, fitness, and athletic performance. Forget the money you spend on a personal trainer, exercise equipment, and over-priced...
  • Janice
    As a friend told me, probably only those who already believe in the value of exercise will read this book, but if others do read it, I think it is one of the best I have read to convince us all that we need to spend more time off the couch. The author has collected a great deal of research that goes into all aspects of exercise, discussing nutrition as it relates to fitness, injury prevention, and the impact of exercise on mental health, quality ...
  • Jennifer
    I found this to be a rather pleasant audio book. I especially liked how Gretchen Reynolds described the scientific studies that have been conducted to prove her points. The take away: be as active as you can! Even adding a minimal movement to your day can potentially extend your life. I don't think I would like this book as much as physical book. As an audio book, each chapter was about an hour long and the reader announced each subheading making...
  • Illiterate
    An intermittently useful jog through exercise science. Little assessment of the reliability of studies or the statistical significance of effects.
  • Patti's Book Nook
    Another foray into fascinating exercise science and general nutrition. I'm loving this topic at the moment, as I'm planning on becoming a health coach this year....eeek!!! This gave me an incredible appreciation for how the body behaves before, during, and post-workout, and the ever-changing information that's available on how to complete the most effective workout. There are obviously the alarming statistics for what a body does when it's not in...
  • A.
    This is a book about exercise and living a life with a body that is as healthy as possible until your last decade. How to be as self-sufficient and healthy from age 20 to age 120. I learned much about the benefits of exercise until you take your last breath! Even if you are in your seventh or eighth decade you can begin to exercise and get big benefits that will make everyday life more enjoyable. This book does a great job covering many exercise ...
  • Nathan
    I'm a regular distance runner and I occasionally read Gretchen Reynolds' contributions to the Well Blog at the New York Times. There was much about the book that I enjoyed and some that I hated. My 3 stars average a 1 and a 5, because I think it represented the best and the worst of the science of exercise.The best: the book showed the importance of any kind of physical activity (even light activity for the First 20 Minutes) for increased lifespa...
  • Lauren
    Reynolds has a straightforward writing style - matter-of-fact, perfect for a book about science and health. She looks at many common and ubiquitous beliefs about exercise, training, sports nutrition and uses science to either disprove or reinforce them. Chapters tackle big subjects like the importance of warm-ups, whether or not stretching before a workout really does anything, the "myth" of dehydration, etc. She covers a lot of ground - using ca...
  • Kara Beal
    This book attempts to summarize current scientific knowledge regarding exercise for health and weight loss. It's very readable and enjoyable (I've read it twice!). Ms. Reynolds' primary conclusions seem to be: all exercise is better than no exercise; high intensity intervals are really good for you (though the exact best ratio of high effort to recovery hasn't been determined); exercise doesn't help much in weight loss, but can help significantly...
  • Beth
    I can't tell you how much this book has changed my thinking about exercise. I have always exercised, played soccer, running. I knew that I did it to maintain my weight and keep my mood up. I had little idea that I was also working my mind. I am adding years to my life. I have been so inspired. I took my bike into the shop this week. I started swimming again. I look so differently at exercise now. I am buying this book for my parents so that they ...
  • Amanda
    ‘So this is a call to arms—and legs, muscles, and lungs—as well as naked self-interest. Each of us needs, almost certainly, to move more’ - Gretchen Reynolds This was both an educational and motivational read. The author does a fantastic job backing up her exercise tips and myth busting with evidence based research. It has certainly encouraged me to get moving. In fact, I listened to this book while exercising over the last few weeks.
  • Kathleen
    This is one of the best books about fitness I have ever read -- and I have read a bunch of them. Most of them are full of baloney. Or, to be more accurate, have some good info mixed with a lot of foolishness.Gretchen Reynolds, however, has distilled the most evidence-based research on the subject of how to exercise most efficiently and effectively as well as how to eat and drink while exercising. Hint: It's not with Gatorade or other special conc...
  • David Schaafsma
    Since I keep up on health and exercise news, I learned almost nothing new in this book, but it is up to date and informative and interesting... Well done, all around. Just not the NEWS I was hoping for. I heard her interviewed on NPR, so I got the book...
  • Mark Gray
    An excellent book for anyone who is undertaking exercise or seriously thinking about starting. I certainly learnt loads of new things
  • Teri-K
    An interesting look at what science is learning about exercise and our brains. Essentially - everyone should exercise because it's good for our bodies, our brains and our emotions. We should run or do other aerobic activity and strength train because they work together synergistically. They're not opposites, but they differ in some ways and yet have many similarities. If you prefer one over the other than do it most but get the other type in a co...
  • Amber
    Fascinating. I will probably read it again. I may actually buy it. This book presents groundbreaking research on the benefits of different forms of exercise & will make you want to get off the couch and move!
  • Hope
    This book is very much not for me. The glib mouthing of sciency platitudes annoys me too much.
  • Ci
    Exercise for most people has become a ritual -- we do our time on the treadmill or stationary bikes, or escape to the mountain trails or the long weekend with a "bootcamp" label. In most cases, we don't question the methods: we were told by our peers, taught by paid trainers, or simply by doing it. A few things I thought were gold-rules: no pain no gain; cardio burns a lot of calorie; weight lifting increases your metabolic rate, and always stret...
  • Trena
    Reynolds reviews the most current exercise science literature to come up with a quick, engaging read for people interested in fitness, or looking for motivation to get there; I highly recommend this to just about everyone. The title comes from good news studies that show you begin to benefit from physical activity with as little as 20 minutes per week--and this doesn't mean 20 minutes of all-out sprinting, it just means 20 minutes of moving your ...