Your Body

How Much Exercise Does It Take to Stay Healthy?

Knowing that exercise is good for us is one thing, but actually finding the time to do it is another. Between family commitments, work and trying to maintain a social life, fitting in fitness on a daily basis can be tough. But don’t worry, exercising doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or lift weights for hours on end. Actually, small amounts of exercise can still do your body a lot of good.

Why something is better than nothing


Exercising regularly has lots of benefits. It can keep your body healthy, help you to live longer, and even take care of your mental health. Keeping both your body and mind in shape is important, of course, but what’s the minimum amount of exercise you need to do to keep yourself healthy?


Research has shown that being active for even short amounts of time can be beneficial for your health. Doing a few minutes of exercise a few times a day can all add up to keep you healthy. So don’t sweat it if the idea of 5 am gym sessions and spin classes just make you want to pull the duvet over your head. Just try to squeeze in whatever you can, whenever you can.

What’s just enough to be good enough?


The NHS recommends that all adults should try to be active every day, and should aim for:


  • Aerobic Activity – Do 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of more vigorous aerobic activity, every week. Brisk walking or cycling would count as moderate-intensity aerobic activity, whereas vigorous-intensity activities would be exercises such as running, swimming laps and aerobic dancing.
  • Strength Training – Do some strength training activities which work all the major muscle groups at least twice a week. You could lift weights, use resistance bands or even do exercises at home like push-ups.

Don’t feel like you have to do all of it at once, you actually shouldn’t! It’s better to spread your exercise out during the week. Even 15 minutes of activity at a time will count towards your health goals.

How to get it all without going all out?


When you’re short of time or you’re finding it hard to motivate yourself, try some of these tips to achieve your activity goals:

  • Go for a walk. One of the easiest ways to get active is going for a walk. You don’t have to go anywhere special if time is short, simply go for a walk around your local area.
  • Exercising doesn’t mean you have to miss your favourite TV shows. Search for some at-home exercises online, and do them while you’re watching. Depending on your fitness level, do the exercises during the ad breaks and relax when the programme is on, or do the opposite to clock up more active minutes.
  • Take the stairs. Make a conscious decision to always choose the stairs instead of the escalator or lift. It might make you feel out of breath the first few times, but take it at your own pace. After a few times, you should find it easier.
  • Stop hitting snooze and hop out of bed a few minutes early to squeeze in some exercise. It will jumpstart your day and your health goals.


As you can see, you only need a little activity every week to improve your health in the long run.

Garden of Life

Garden of Life

Writer and expert