Recent research by scientists at Queen's University, Belfast found that walking for half an hour for three days a week gave similar fitness and blood pressure benefits to walking the same duration five times a week.
However, the team of American sports scientists stress that adults age 18-65 need to go beyond routine daily activities such as walking and housework. Moderate or vigorous exercise should follow a structured routine 3-5 times a week and should be accompanied by two weekly sessions of weight training to maintain muscle strength and endurance.
Short amounts of exercise can count toward weekly fitness goals, but they must last for at least 10 minutes and the emphasis should be on breaking a sweat and raising the heart rate. However, over exercising can have negative health effects and critics claim that these recommendations are too ambitious for the overweight population that do not have the time to spend at a gym.
For the general population, gentle exercise may be a good way to transition from a sedentary lifestyle. But, to truly reap the rewards of good health, a little sweat can go a long way.