Woman doing a workout in her backyard

Do 10 Minute Workouts Actually Help?

Are you getting enough exercise? If not, you’re not alone. According to the American Heart Association, adults should get at least two and a half hours of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense aerobic fitness weekly. However, nearly 80 percent of Americans avoid working out simply because time constraints prevent them from reaching their daily fitness goals.

Ten minute workouts–or micro workouts–are perfect for people with packed schedules. It’s a style of exercise made up of full body micro workouts you can do in 10 minutes or less. You can start by doing speedy sets of push-ups, squats, planks and jumping jacks, or you can alternate between short surges of sprinting with a walk if you wish to go outdoors.

“Science has shown that doing mini-workouts throughout the day are just as effective as one long workout,” certified strength and conditioning specialist Lauren Stobbie tells Self. “You can gain muscle, boost your metabolism and lose weight.”

What is a 10 minute workout?

Because 10 minute workouts have become a catchy buzzword, and not an official medical term, micro workouts are loosely defined. They generally mean short periods of exercise that last 10 minutes or fewer focusing on cardio or weight lifting. Some micro workouts can get you sweating for just seven minutes, while others can be as brief as one minute. From riding intervals on a stationary bike to running up and down stairs, you have countless options to push yourself at home in your free time.

What are the benefits of micro workouts?

Many experts agree these short exercise sessions are powerful. One 2016 study revealed that a 10 minute workout with one minute of sprints could deliver health benefits similar to a 45 minute workout at a moderate pace. The secret here is high intensity interval training. When participants felt like they were left with little time to workout, they pushed themselves to perform harder in condensed regimes to activate all major muscle groups.

Short bursts of intense activity can yield long-term benefits for everybody. Health advantages includes:

  • Better heart health
  • Boosted endurance
  • Lost weight
  • Stronger muscles
  • Improved abilities for the body to absorb insulin

Adults only need 75 minutes of strenuous exercise a week. That adds up to a little less than 8 minutes of exercise a day or 7.5 micro workouts weekly.

Adults only need 75 minute workouts graphic

 How can I fit 10 minute workouts into my day?

Micro workouts are perfect for anybody with only a few moments to spare or for those too busy to frequent a gym. Begin by performing two to three sets throughout your day. You can do them during a lunch break at work, waiting for the kids to get out of school, or in between activities at home.

In addition, many of these workouts don’t require specialized equipment to complete. An article in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal explains a seven minute workout that involves exercises using a chair, wall and someone’s body weight allows for a total body exercise that helps develop strength and improves cardiac health.

To complete the workout in the study, do the following for 30 seconds each. Take a 10-second rest between each move:

Tabata training is also great for those looking for a more structured high-intensity micro workout. This fitness plan pushes you through four different exercises for two 20 second intervals each, allowing you to take a 10 second breather between each set. You choose between cardio and weight lifting depending on which part of your body you want to workout before starting.

Before diving into any fitness program, it’s important to check with your doctor to see if it’s safe. If you struggle with unsteadiness, dizziness or have a chronic health condition like heart disease, diabetes or blood pressure, consult with a medical professional at NWPC to find out if this fitness routine works with your lifestyle.