The evidence is growing: Even small amounts of exercise (think 10-15 minutes a day) have powerful health benefits.A study out of Taiwan found that people who exercised just 15 minutes a day cut their risk of death by 14 percent and extended their life expectancy by three years, compared with those who did no exercise. Each additional 15 minutes of exercise reduced the risk of death by another 4 percent.And a new mega-study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation found that a person needs far less than the recommended federal guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week to reduce their risk of heart disease.But how often do you really need to work out to see results?We asked Certified Personal Trainer Mark Macdonald, author of the best-selling “Body Confidence: Venice Nutrition’s 3-Step System That Unlocks Your Body’s Full Potential,” to shed some light on the latest research — and to tell us just how little exercise we can get away with.MM: The reality is that all exercise — even just one minute — provides some health benefits. Just 10-15 minutes of exercise strengthens your heart (it is a muscle after all), and keeps it pumping blood like a champ! Your digestive system metabolizes food better, you release excess bloat faster and you’re better equipped to burn fat. Exercise also releases feel-good hormones that help enhance mood and reduce stress. A bonus: You’ll feel so good, you might find yourself WANTING to exercise longer.MORE FROM SELF: Lose 8 Pounds in 1 MonthHS: How little exercise can we get away with if we want to slash pounds?MM: Ideally, your baseline level of activity should be at least 15-30 minutes of consistent exercise per day. But there’s a difference between health benefits and maximizing fat burning. Want to lose weight or body fat? Then you should be doing 45-75 minutes of exercise per day, five days a week, to really take your body to the next level.HS: So if we can’t squeeze in 30-60 minutes at the gym, should we just skip working out altogether?MM: We have all been there, the “all or nothing” mindset. Basically, if we cannot get our exercise in the exact way we think we should, we bail on it. I know this mindset all too well, and it ends up failing me and my clients every time. The reality is that life happens (unforeseen circumstances) and when it does, you must adjust, be flexible and remember that all exercise is a good. If you wake up late or have a tough day at work and getting to the gym is not an option, do your best to squeeze in 10-20 minutes of exercise — even if that just means running stairs at the office. You can make it happen — it’s easier than you think!MORE FROM SELF: Choose the Workout That’s Best for You!HS: Any other fat-burning tips?MM: It’s really important that you diversify your exercise and do a mixture of fat-burning cardio (e.g. stair-climbing, jogging, walking hills) and high-intensity cardio (e.g. sprints, running stairs, Spinning) along with some strength training that activates your core muscles (e.g. Pilates, yoga, weight training). And develop a passion for exercise. Don’t do exercise you dread — that’s the quickest way to burn out. Instead, explore different workouts and have fun with your activities. Exercise should be a highlight of your day, not a chore.MORE FROM SELF: Slim Down … With a Text MessageFor daily fitness tips follow SELF on Facebook and Twitter.Get SELF on your iPad!