French doctors on Tuesday said that an overview of the latest research into sport and good health proved that moderate, frequent exercise combatted the risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, respiratory disease and depression.
The report by the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm) sets a benchmark, for adults, of at least 30 minutes of modest exercise, such as fast walking, at least five times a week, or 20 minutes of harder exercise, such as jogging, three times a week.
Young people are advised to do twice this regime to maintain fitness.
In addition, Inserm recommended "muscular strengthening" at least twice a week, and advised the elderly to do stretching and balance exercises.
Intensive daily activities, such as climbing up stairs with shopping bags or cleaning a bathroom, can be included in the exercise tally.
However, Inserm cautioned that its recommended regime will have only a minor effect on people who are obese.