What's the Minimum Amount of Exercise You Can Do?

Learn the minimum amount of exercise necessary to stay healthy and keep you at a low risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis.

Ben Greenfield
3-minute read
Episode #130

Another study tracked over 400,000 adults for 8 years, surveying them about physical activity levels and their health. Participants indicated what types of exercise they did and how many minutes per week they did each exercise, and then the researchers calculated a special number called a “hazard ratio” (HR) over the 8-year period of each person’s participation in the study.

A HR of 1 is assigned to a completely inactive group – reporting less than an hour a week of exercise and any HR lower than 1 means you have an increased chance of avoiding death.

Surprisingly, the researchers found that low-volume, moderate exercisers, who exercised just 75 minutes per week (that’s about 15 minutes a day!), had significantly better HRs than inactive people, and this result held up even after controlling for a number of other factors, like age, sex, smoking, drinking, and other health issues. A change in HR like this means that for a typical 30-year-old, as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day leads to an increase of 2.5 to 3 years in life-expectancy! The study also showed that the health benefits of exercise significantly tapered off after anything more than 90 minutes of exercise per day.


So it turns out that you can exercise as little as 15 minutes a day to stay healthy, as little as 30 minutes a day to stay fit and lean, and that you don’t get any extra benefit once you exceed 90 minutes per day!

If you have questions about the minimum amount of exercise necessary to stay healthy, then post them in the comments section of the Get-Fit Guy web site or join the conversation at Facebook.com/GetFitGuy!

Runner image from Shutterstock


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.