It’s been said that with even modest efforts we can reap substantial rewards. This applies to fitness as well as to our other endeavors. According to a study published in The Lancet (doi:10.1016/S0140-6736[11]60749–6), even minimally active people exhibit more positive health outcomes than do completely inactive ones. The study included 416,175 men and women in Taiwan who participated in a medical screening between 1996 and 2008. The individuals completed a questionnaire and were placed into categories based on self-reported physical activity levels.

“Compared with individuals in the inactive group, those in the low-volume activity group, who exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week—or about 15 minutes per day—had a 14% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and had a 3-year longer life expectancy,” the study authors reported. Those benefits increased 4% for every extra 15 minutes of weekly activity. The authors added that the benefits of physical activity applied to both genders and also applied to those at risk of cardiovascular disease.