Some Exercise Better Than None

If you think you’re not exercising enough to improve your health, think again. According to new research, even small amounts of physical activity will help reduce heart disease risk, and the benefit increases as the amount of activity increases.

Researchers from the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who engaged in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity leisure activity had a 14 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to those who reported no exercise or physical activity. People with higher levels of activity had a progressively lower relative risk of CHD. The investigators found that that even people who got below the United States guidelines for physical activity, which recommend 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise per week, had a lower risk of CHD than those who had no activity. Interestingly, these results were stronger in women than in men.

The authors of the study say these findings corroborate federal guidelines — 150 minutes of exercise a week is definitely beneficial, but 300 minutes per week will give even more benefits.