Get healthy with under 10 minutes of exercise a day

Even a small amount of exercise is good for you.

Recent research has determined that any amount of physical activity is beneficial for your health — even if it’s less than 10 minutes.

Looking at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers from Duke University in North Carolina, USA, found that even a small amount of exercise helps in reducing the overall risk of death, along with a host of other medical conditions.

The study

The researchers conducted the study by analysing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which was conducted between 2003 and 2006. It involved around 5000 people over the age of 40.

In the survey, all participants wore accelerometer devices to measure their physical activity.

Using this data, the researchers then used a national database to determine how many of the participants were still alive in 2011.


The results showed that the amount of exercise a person does directly correlates to their risk of an early death.

People who did less than 20 minutes of physical activity per day had the highest risk of death. In addition, getting 60 minutes of exercise per day cut your risk by 57 per cent — more than half.

Furthermore, those who got 100 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per day reduced their risk of dying by 76 per cent.

However, even a small amount of physical activity counted towards reducing health risks. As long your exercise intensity reaches a moderate level, it is helpful, the study found.

So, for example, a brisk walk where the pace makes it hard to keep up a conversation.

Also, physical activity in short bursts, such as brief trips up and down stairs, counted towards reducing mortality risks.

This study has been published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“We now know from this study that any amount of physical activity will count towards your total goal,” said study author Professor William E. Kraus. “My recommendations are for people to get up at least hourly and move around and when the opportunity arises, take the stairs, walk a little more than you would normally do and try to get your 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity.”

Professor Kraus further recommends that one easy way to measure this amount of physical activity is to aim for 10,000 steps.

Of course, there are many, many different ways to get in even a small amount of moderate to vigorous exercise each days. Whether it’s group training, cardio, indoor cycling classes or  a visit to the weights room. The choice is yours.


Pedro F. Saint‐Maurice et al. (2018.) ‘Moderate‐to‐Vigorous Physical Activity and All‐Cause Mortality: Do Bouts Matter?’ Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018;7:e007678. Originally published March 22, 2018.

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