Laughter may be the best medicine, and you can’t get too much of it. But we don’t always feel that way about exercise. On days when it’s an effort to get onto the trail or into the gym, it would be nice to know if doing the minimum still has some benefit.

A recent article in the New York Times cites two major studies that answer the question. Researchers with the National Cancer Institute, Harvard University and other institutions found people get benefits even when they exercise less than the recommended 150 minutes, weekly. More than an hour of exercise a day and the benefits taper off (but they don’t decline). And when it comes to how vigorously you should exercise, an Australian study recently found that taking it up a notch once in a while brings a small but not insignificant decrease in mortality.

Still need some motivation to get moving, or get moving more? Check out these tips that make it less of a chore.

Image courtesy: Brandon.wiggins (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons