The Benefits of Physical Fitness

(Even If Infrequent)

Is your lack of exercise becoming more of a routine as fall draws near? Take heart. Even a few workouts here and there will do you some good, sporadic as they may be.

Of course, your best health bet is to get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. Short of that, though, getting the benefits of physical fitness (even if infrequent) a few times a month seems to significantly lower some health risks—like heart failure.

Every Drop of Sweat Counts
In a study involving over 20,000 middle-aged men, those who reported a lack of exercise—exercising only one to three times a month—were still 18 percent less likely to develop heart failure compared with men who rarely or never broke a sweat. But sweat was key; the study tracked only vigorous exercise—the kind that gets your body glistening and makes it hard to carry on a conversation. (Hint, hint: To receive the benefits of physical fitness, amp up your walk a few times a month.) Exercising hard at least five times a week cut heart failure risk even more: 36 percent.

But Really, Don’t Sweat It
Oh, dear. Break a sweat? Yeah, we know. Sounds like work! But it doesn’t have to be. It’s easy to overthink exercise and make it seem harder than it really is. Here are some solutions for keeping it simple and enjoying the benefits of physical fitness even on the busiest of days:

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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