You’ve probably heard about new research showing that a mere 30–60 minutes of running a week— even in bursts of only 5–10 minutes a day (!)—can add three years to your life.
But here’s the less-reported yet equally awesome part: “Any vigorous exercise, such as cycling or swimming, would provide a similar cardiovascular benefit because the heart doesn’t know if it’s running or cycling,” says Duck-chul Lee, Ph.D., who ran the study reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Yes, just 5–10 minutes a day of any vigorous aerobic activity can yield huge dividends. By “vigorous” we mean working at 60–84% of your max heart rate (easy formula: 220 minus your age) or, in Lee’s words, “so you can’t say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.” Think of it as sticking around for three more Super Bowls, World Series, birthdays, and 1,095 nights of sex (hey, we’re erring on the positive side).
Sure, working out even more is better—but if you’re just getting into exercise, or having a hard time working fitness into your life, five minutes a day (see some ideas, left) is a great place to start.