We all know that exercise is good for us, both mentally and physically, and yet no matter how good our intentions, we often seem to find reasons to avoid it.

But when we think of the prevention or delay of health problems that exercise can bring, it’s quite a compelling reason to try. Exercise can improve heart function, increase ‘good’ cholesterol, help prevent diabetes and has even been linked to the prevention or reduced recurrence of some cancers.

In today’s world where daily life can be quite sedentary, we often have to make a deliberate choice to be active. However, evidence suggests that the activity we choose is actually less important than the decision to do it at all, so long as we try and do about 30 minutes of moderate exercise (which amounts to a brisk walking pace) about 5 times a week. We can even do it in 15 minute bouts if we have to.

Yes, some of us are simply born more athletic than others, but to clock up those 15 minute sessions doesn’t have to be difficult. Using the stairs, getting off at an earlier bus stop or walking to the next one, dancing while you wash up or hitting the housework with gusto, walking through the office to talk face to face with a colleague rather than email them, standing up at your desk or when you’re on the phone all count. It just takes a bit of preplanning.

Remember, any exercise, even minimal, is better than nothing at all.