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How Little Can You Exercise to Get Health Benefits?

Posted Aug 24 2008 2:14pm
Many of us know that exercise provides a number of health benefits including reducing the risk for diabetes and heart disease as well as giving us those all-important endorphins to help reduce stress and blood pressure.

I know a number of people who see exercise almost like a religion. These motivated souls carve out time in their busy schedules to run miles, take aerobics or bicycle every day. They are admired by the rest of us. I used to be one of them and have the arthritis to prove it. However now, unfortunately, I have trouble getting what I consider a minimum amount of exercise into my crowded schedule.

I'm sure I'm not alone on this issue.

So just what is the minimum amount of exercise to get any kind of health benefit?

The American Heart Association/American College of Sports Medicine says that everyone (healthy enough to exercise) between the ages 18-65 should be getting at least 30 minutes of moderately intense activity five days per week.

So 30 minutes doesn't seem like much but could we see benefits with less exercise?

How about 20 minutes per week!

Recently a study published in the esteemed British Medical Journal stated that just 20 minutes per week of exercise promotes mental health benefits.

The researchers examined questions about activity and state of mind from over 20,000 participants in the Scottish Health Survey. It turns out that as little as 20 minutes of exercise per week can improve mental health. Of course more exercise promotes more health benefits.

Hey, even I can do 20 minutes per week!


BMJ-British Medical Journal (2008, April 10). Just 20 Minutes Of Weekly Housework Boosts Mental Health.

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