Fitness apps that offer 10- to 15-minute workouts are popular because they solve the biggest barrier to exercise: lack of time. Despite their popularity, many people question whether short workouts are effective and if they can produce the same results as long workouts.
“There is overwhelming evidence that even a short 10-minute workout performed at moderate to high intensity can make a huge difference in your health and fitness level,” says Olga Hays, an American Council on Exercise-certified wellness promotion specialist at Sharp HealthCare.
Brief 10-minute workouts, especially those performed in high-intensity interval training (HIIT), boost metabolism for hours and, as a result, raise the body’s fat-and-calorie-burning power throughout the day. In addition, quick workouts can contribute to improved energy levels, improved sleep and even improved cognitive functions, such as short-term memory and decision-making.
“One of the most significant benefits of short workouts is that they lead to greater adherence,” explains Hays. “You are more likely to continue with your fitness program given the substantially reduced time commitment.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both spread throughout the week. In addition, you should add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity, such as resistance or weights, and strength-training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week.
“Science has consistently shown that some exercise, even just a few minutes a day, is better than none,” adds Hays. “Therefore, if your busy schedule does not allow you to stick to the above recommendations, rest assured that as long as you can squeeze a few mini-workouts into your day, it is still worth your while.”
Mini sweat sessions add up and can help you reach many fitness goals such as gain muscle, boost your metabolism, increase endurance and assist in weight loss. To help you get started, Hays suggests this 10-minute cardio routine. It requires very little space and no equipment.
10-Minute Cardio Blast
Warm up with a light jog in place (30 seconds), then complete the following five exercises:
|1. Jumping jacks||30 seconds|
|2. Burpees||30 seconds|
|3. High knees||30 seconds|
|4. Squat jumps||30 seconds|
*Traditional or on your knees
Once you complete one round of all five exercises, rest for 60 seconds. Then start over and do the circuit one more time to complete a total of 10 minutes.
“The bottom line is that any workout is better than no workout,” says Hays. “Start building short workouts into your day and soon you will feel stronger, leaner and more energized.”