This Is How Much Exercise You Really Need to Do to See Health Benefits


From better mental health to a longer life, the benefits of exercise are seemingly endless. But with so much information out there about how much you should be exercising, it can be hard to figure out the sweet spot—and it's easy to assume that more is always better. The good news? You probably need to move less than you think to reap the health benefits, says Edward Phillips, M.D., founder and director of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-host of WBUR’s Magic Pill podcast.

“People have heard the message that you need 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week [according to federal guidelines]. If you get that, you’ll get 85 percent of health benefits we talk about. However, the misconception is that if I don’t do that, or if I don’t do it all at once, it’s all or nothing,” he says. Phillips also points out that the guidelines call for moderate-intensity exercise, which means you don’t have to be killing yourself with long runs, boot camp, or spin class five days a week in order to relish the rewards.

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Women's HealthKristen Domonell