You’re busy at the salon, and you’re busy at home. In many polls, finding time to exercise is the #1 hurdle people give for not staying fit. In addition, an intense workout turns off a lot of people. Combine the time restriction with the unattractive prospect of a killer workout, and it’s easy to forego exercise altogether.

At Healthy Hairdresser, we urge you: don’t give up on exercise!

Start slowly—for two reasons. First, setting aside something like 20 minutes a day or 90 minutes a week puts you in a new frame of mind. You’ll prove to yourself that you can make the time, and after three weeks an activity becomes a habit. You know how hard it is to break a habit; that goes for good habits, too!

Second, a “dollop” of exercise really can help you. A study conducted in Denmark of men indicated that even though a program of strenuous, hour-long daily exercise worked off more calories than a moderate program such as 30 minutes of daily jogging or cycling, the moderate program resulted in a more significant weight loss. How can that be? The scientists theorized that the men responded to the heavier workout by eating more and barely moving the rest of the day, whereas the moderate exercisers were not excessively hungry or tired and didn’t change their normal routine.

When it comes to cutting your risk from stroke, as little as one or two hours per week of moderate exercise seems to be enough, concludes Sophia Wang, Ph.D., associate professor at City of Hope’s Department of Population Sciences, after analyzing data from a study of women. Wang reports that an activity such as walking briskly, recreational tennis, golf or biking on flat surfaces cut the risk of stroke in the participants by 20 percent, with more strenuous exercise—jogging, biking up hills, basketball or aerobics—not offering additional protection. Exercise helped even women who were on hormone therapy to cut their risk of stroke.

“Exercise has so many benefits, stroke being one of them,” says Wang, who explains more about this in a video on the City of Hope website. “For someone who’s exercising a lot, I would never say, ‘You can exercise less.’ But for someone who isn’t exercising, who sees a barrier to exercising, one to two hours a week is attainable.”