Just 30 minutes of exercise a day keeps the doctor away

Yes… we all know that exercising is part of a healthy lifestyle. But, honestly, how many of us priorities exercising on a regular basis?

Our increasingly busy lifestyles and work commitments often seem to get in the way of engaging in physical activity. If you’re looking for motivation to work up a sweat then science may just be the inspiration you need.

A recent review paper has shown how exercise is beneficial for the human body to cope with stress. Stress can lead to hypertension, affects the immune system and heart. The amount of stress someone’s body is exposed to depends on the physiological stress response – which is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the sympathetic nervous system. Exercising helps the body to adapt to stress at hormonal and neurochemical levels.

Another publication by Harvard Heart Letter points out most age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s are associated with the health of our mitochondria.  Exercise acts on the mitochondria and also reduces inflammation. Inflammation is also linked to the pathology of most age-related diseases.

Still not motivated to go to the gym, or do a triathlon?… The good thing is that we don’t need to become a gym junkie or elite sportsmen to feel the benefits of exercising. Science suggests a mere 30 minutes of exercise – that could be just a walk – on most days is sufficient. So grab a buddy, dust off the runners and get amongst it! However you choose to get active the health benefits of regular exercise are guaranteed.

“If we had the ability to put what exactly exercise does for us into a pill, it would worth a million dollars. The irony is that exercise itself is free” (Dr. Susan Cheng of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Womens’s  Hospital). “Copyright, President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved”.

Want more science proof of exercise benefits, have a look at 13 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits Of Exercise


Picture from http://p90xinovermyhead.wordpress.com/page/7/


Wipfli, Brad and Ramirez, Ernesto (2013) “Stress Reactivity in Humans and Animals: Two Meta-Analyses,” International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 6: Iss. 2, Article 7.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol6/iss2/7

‘Best medicine: The science of exercise shows benefits beyond weight loss’, (2013) Harvard Heart Letter, Harvard Health Publications, 23(11), 6-6.

15 Responses to “Just 30 minutes of exercise a day keeps the doctor away”

  1. Devneet Singh Virdi says:

    So true!!! Great post 🙂

  2. blima says:

    That’s right, once you create a habit you feel the need to exercise and it became very easy.

  3. blima says:

    I agree pdelo. I think anyone can find 30 min in a day. 15 minutes walking/cycling to uni is not a big deal and much better than taking a tram/public transport.

  4. blima says:

    Thanks for the information Kathryn. I’m going to research about that and get more informed.

  5. blima says:

    Thanks for the comment. I did not know about this app. It is a good tip to get started.

  6. blima says:

    Thanks for the idea. Will try to write something about that.

  7. blima says:

    That’s a good idea Cameron. I ride to uni everyday. It just takes me 15 min and really helps to relax specially during the exams week.

  8. Nikkita says:

    Takes 21 days to create a habit – commit to 21 days and you will end up addicted!

  9. Cameron P says:

    I’ve been trying to get into the habit of riding my pushbike to uni. I’m fortunate that I don’t live very far away and there are good cycle paths in my suburb. Cycling easily gets me more than half an hour of exercise on the days when I can be bothered to do it… it’s surprisingly relaxing and (at the speed I travel) doesn’t leave you feeling completely knackered like going for a run does.

  10. gabrielb says:

    It would be interesting to consider the effects of being sedentary for long periods of time during a day even when 30 minutes of exercise is undertaken per day. I walk for around 30 minutes a day by virtue of getting to the train station and back but when I don’t have experiments to do I spend the 9 or so hours of my day sitting in the office.

  11. Meagan Lane says:

    Good proactive post to get people motivated. Brenna Lima, a great app to download to help get yourself of the couch and exercising regularly and starting off at a basic level is C25K, which stands for Couch to 5km. It is a running app that starts off at a basic level from no exercise to hopefully running, or maybe jogging, 5km in 8 weeks.

  12. Kathryn says:

    The study they would have been referring to was by Tabata et al “Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and ·VO2max”, but they used a small group of very high level endurance cyclists, so it’s not really applicable to the average person. If you’re *already* extremely fit, that kind of very intense training will give better results in terms of maximal exercise capacity than more endurance training. It was the equivalent of getting marathon runners to do sprinting exercise instead of more marathon training, it’s very different to what they had already been doing for years, so it had a big effect. I don’t think anybody has shown the same thing in normal people. I did a lit review on this in 2009, and at the time, the best protocol I found with non-athletes was one from Talanian et al, “Two Weeks of High Intensity Aerobic Interval Training Increases The Capacity for Fat Oxidation During Exercise in Women”. They got results almost as good as Tabata’s, but their protocol required 3-4hrs of intense exercise each week, instead of a minute and a half 😉 I’ve done their program and it’s a killer! But no pain no gain, etc.

  13. smcnabb says:

    I watched a documentary a while ago about this sort of thing and a theory they’d come up with was that if you do 30 seconds bouts of super crazy cardio over a short amount of time, it’s more beneficial than extended periods of exercise! Hard to believe but he put up a good argument, if I could remember what the program was called I’d link you. Interesting read though!

  14. pdeleo says:

    Then we have no excuse.. we all can/must find 30 minutes per day.. it is healthy for the body and mind! instead of checking facebook, take a bike ride! or use the exercise bike and you can still check facebook 😉

  15. Brenna Lima says:

    How pride I am! I really need to hear your words! But now you have to write an article called “why is so hard to take our body out off the couch?” OMG 🙁