In an era of slow fitness, it probably comes as little surprise that we don’t need to exercise nearly as much as previously thought in the name of longevity. In a large new study published on this topic, researchers concluded from studying exercise habits of 130,000 people that just 150 minutes of exercise per week can help you live longer.
Just to break that down for you, that’s 30 minutes of exercise, five days per week. And you don’t have to spend those minutes logging seven-minute miles on the treadmill, either: In this case, exercise includes walking and even cleaning your house.
In a world where the only exercise required of you is doing the dishes and cleaning your bathtub, is it still worth it to attend your weekly 6 a.m. spin class and hit the yoga studio after a stressful day at work? Lead study author Scott Lear doesn’t think so. “I would dispel the notion of having to put out money to be active,” he says. “Our findings indicate that non-recreational activity—work, housework, active transportation—is just as beneficial in reducing the risk for premature death and heart disease.”
But before you cancel your monthly yoga membership and throw away your running shoes, we chatted with two mental health experts who believe that if you want to reap the mental benefits of regular exercise, your workout shouldn’t end with your commute.