Short is in! Short workouts that is. Ten minutes, even as few as 1-2 minutes of physical activity yields significant health benefits! Experts generally recommend that adults get at least 75-150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. However, studies show that doing so in short intervals of 10 minutes or so can be equally as effective as fewer long workouts.
In fact, some research shows that doing shorter but more consistent workouts can yield dramatic results. Given that the number one road block to getting exercise is TIME, this is awesome news.
Long workouts, like long business meetings, can be boring, intimidating and lead us to distraction such that we’re not giving our best to the task. So, again like with business meetings, short and focused bouts of exercise can be a more effective approach! It may be challenging to find the time and motivation for a 30-60 minute cardio workout, but doing 2-3 activities for 10-15 minutes each throughout the day is far more convenient, can have equal or greater effect and is less mentally intimidating!
“Ten minutes of physical activity here and 10 minutes here really does add up. Seeking out those opportunities to be active truly makes a difference in your health” says Brad Cardinal, co director of the sport and exercise physiology program at Oregon State and co-author of a study comparing the effects of short vs long duration exercise. The bottom line is that whether you exercise for 1 minute, 10 minutes or an hour, getting some exercise is better than none, and the effects of short duration bouts of exercise are additive. Woo Hoo!
And even shorter exercise bouts are effective too. You may be amazed at what a great workout you can get over the course of a day by doing periodic 1-2 minute exercises right at your desk at work. A few desk push-ups in the AM, 15 chair squats before lunch and some calf raises in the afternoon can strengthen and tone your muscles with virtually no interruption in your day. Prolonged sitting is bad for your back, hip flexors and blood flow. Its important to get up and move around for a minute or 2 every 1-2 hours during the work day.
For a more thorough workout, try 10-15 minute high intensity (or moderate depending on your physical condition) exercise routines like cardio boot campsthat use fast paced body weight exercises. I did some burpees and squat jumping jacks in Central Park today and my heart was pumping! These short bursts of exercise get your heart rate going, burn fat and tone your muscles, and it may be intense but its over quick!
Summary of Benefits of Short Duration Exercise:
- Tone & Strengthen Muscles
- Stretch & Alleviate Tight Muscles
- Increase Blood Flow
- Reduce Stress
- Increase Energy and Focus
- Burn Fat
- Time Management
- Adherence (less skipped workouts)
And don’t forget activities like a brisk walk of the dog, yard work, walking or cycling to work all count towards getting that 30 minutes of cardio work per day!
Got a few minutes for your health?