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Exercise & Fitness

Exercise by the numbers

Fitness is essential for good health, but for optimal benefits you need to focus on the right exercise duration and intensity.

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Any aerobic activity that gets the heart pumping helps you reach the proper intensity.
Image: ConnieTBallash/Thinkstock

The standard guideline for fitness, from both government agencies and health organizations, is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. "It does not matter how you reach those 150 minutes," says Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, a sports medicine physician with Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. "It could be 50 minutes three times a week, or 30 minutes five times a week, or some other combination. Even a short burst of 10 minutes at one time is beneficial."

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