A Smart and Simple Way to Stay Active: Follow the 2/30 Rule

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Halfpoint)

Want to be more mindful of your screen time and lead a more active lifestyle? There’s one simple formula to remember that can help you achieve both, and it’s called the 2/30 rule.

It’s simple, really—the goal is to limit yourself to 2 hours of TV watching time per day, and to also get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. It’s about spending less time sitting in front of a screen and spending a little more time working on your fitness.

The 2/30 rule has been floating around the internet for years, although, to be honest, in all my research I couldn’t find an origin for how it started or who said it first—the earliest tweet I could find on the subject dates back to 2014, and it’s been referenced on StyleCaster and a few other websites, just sans an origin story. However, despite its mysterious origins, there is science to back it up.

First, the idea of limiting your TV time: according to The Telegraph, studies show that people who limit their time in front of the television to 2 hours maximum per day could actually live more than a year longer than those who watch more TV. But it has little to do with the television and more to do with the fact that we’re often sedentary while we watch—the more we sit and the less active we are, the more it can negatively affect our health.

And on that note, the 30 in the 2/30 rule is, of course, all about adding to your activity level. This number shouldn’t be a surprise, as it’s long been recommended by doctors to aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. In fact, studies show that 30 minutes of quality exercise might even be more effective than working out for 60 minutes. And you don’t even have to go hard at the gym—a 30 minute walk can have many benefits (including reducing chronic illness, even!), according to the Washington Post.

The 2/30 Rule may not be revolutionary by any means, but it’s a great reminder that keeping it simple is effective—and if you need a little push to make a healthier change, maybe this little rule is all you need.