It’s time to turn up the heat on your workouts, but that doesn’t mean you have to train for a marathon or slave at the gym for two hours a day. In fact, working in ten-minute spurts of activity here and there will still improve your health, according to research published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, the largest women’s exercise trial performed to date, looked at 464 sedentary, overweight or obese, postmenopausal women and found that those who started exercising for 72 minutes a week experienced a 4 percent increase in peak oxygen consumption—an indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness—over six months. Meanwhile, women who exercised 192 minutes per week boosted their aerobic fitness by 8 percent. “As you age, you naturally get more and more out of shape,” says Timothy Church, MD, the study’s lead researcher and author of Move Yourself (Wiley, 2008). “To our surprise, even a minimal amount gave a lot of people their lives back. Clearly the goal is 150 minutes per week, but it’s not all or nothing—even a minimal amount will improve your quality of life.”

–Dana Sullivan