Exercise for half an hour

Sometimes the best advice is the simplest.

A dozen years ago, University of South Carolina professor Russell Pate and his team of experts published a report advising people to exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week. And, according to a new report in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, that advice still is sound today.

The report stresses that people can benefit from 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days a week, but that muscle-strengthening exercises such as weight lifting, also are beneficial. Strength building and stretching exercises also contribute to bone health and balance, said the report.

The 30-minute guideline refers to moderate to vigorous activity in a structured session. That could include aerobic exercises such as walking or jogging, riding a stationary bike or swimming laps along with some anaerobic exercises such as lifting weights.

Many people, of course, have longer and more complicated regimens, some guided by special trainers. And gyms, spas and other workout centers can provide elaborate equipment on which to exercise.

But back to keeping it simple: Folks can benefit from walking around their neighborhoods or swimming laps at the local YMCA for 30 minutes a day. You don't have to train like a professional athlete to gain significant health benefits.

The important thing is not to be a listless couch potato. If you want to be healthy, you have to get up and move around a little.

That has been good advice for more than a decade, and it still is.

Advice given by USC team 12 years ago still is valid today.