The ideal: Do 30 minutes most days of the week. The surgeon general advises this near-daily regimen will help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, raise HDL (good) cholesterol, and improve cardio health, reducing the risk for diabetes and heart disease.
The next best thing: Take three 10-minute walks each day. Short bursts have real health benefits, says Cris Slentz, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina. Assuming the intensity is identical to that of a 30-minute workout, you’ll burn the same number of calories and get the heart-health benefits. A few ideas:
- Devote 10 minutes of your lunch hour to a brisk walk.
- Climb a few flights of stairs several times a day instead of using the elevator.
- Offer to take a friend’s (energetic) dog for a walk.