We know that exercise does lots of good things for us, from helping us live longer, to managing our weight, and improving mental health.

We assume that more must be better, but the good news is that you probably need less than you think to get the healthy benefits, according to Dr. Edward Phillips.

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“People have heard the message that you need 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week [according to federal guidelines]. If you get that, you’ll get 85% of health benefits we talk about,” Phillips explains. “However, the misconception is that if I don’t do that, or if I don’t do it all at once, it’s all or nothing.”

Phillips also reminds us that the guidelines call for moderate-intensity exercise, so you don’t actually have to be killing yourself at boot camp or spin class five days a week to get the rewards. Here’s how much you should be doing to get certain health benefits:

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  • Interval training– 10 minutes three times a week lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Moderate exercise– 150 minutes a week reduces the risk of cancer.
  • Walking– 35 minutes five times a week can help ease symptoms of depression
  • Moderate aerobic exercise– 120 minutes a week can help improve memory
  • Exercise– Just 90 minutes a week of some kind of exercise can lower blood pressure levels.

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