You know regular exercise can help your health, help you lose or maintain your weight, and help your mood, but it’s often hard to find the time. Many people struggle to balance a sedentary job, long work hours, family, and daily chores like cooking and cleaning. Adding regular exercise to your day can feel impossible.
But what if your goal was only to exercise for 10 minutes most days? Could you find the time to do that?
Most people can find a spare 10 minutes in their day, whether it’s right when they get up, before taking a shower, during their lunch break, or after dinner. However, can 10 minutes of exercise really help your health and fitness?
Yes—exercising for 10 minutes a day can help you, especially if you aren’t already exercising consistently. That said, what you do during those 10 minutes matters.
Health Benefits of 10-Minute Workouts
Research has found that short, 10-minute workouts can help improve your health and fitness, especially if you aren’t used to exercising. Some health and fitness benefits include:
Better cardiovascular fitness
Even short, 10-minute workouts can lead to improved oxygen uptake, which is a measure of endurance and cardiovascular fitness. A randomized control study found that overweight or obese women that were usually sedentary improved their cardiorespiratory fitness by walking for only 10 to 15 minutes a day when compared to a control group.
Another study among sedentary men also found the short interval group, who biked for 10 minutes with one minute of high intensity, increased their oxygen uptake the same as a group who exercised at a moderate rate for 50 minutes. Both groups had similar fitness improvements and did better than the control group at the end of the 12-week study.
These studies help support that exercising for short periods can improve your fitness, especially if you’re currently not active.
More control of blood sugar levels
Making healthy habit changes, like exercising, can help you manage blood sugar levels. Exercise can lower your risk of diabetes and prediabetes, but you may not need to exercise for a prolonged period to benefit. Research shows that short periods of exercise, like 10-minute intervals, may lower your risk of diabetes and allow for more control of blood sugar levels.
One study found that quick workouts with short bursts of intensity completed 30 minutes before meals controlled blood sugar levels in insulin-resistant people better than one daily 30-minute workout. Another study found that older adults had better blood sugar control when they had a short walk after meals than if they went for one 45-minute walk a day.
Improved cognitive focus and mood
Cardio workouts, such as biking, swimming, and walking, can improve your mood and cognitive focus. However, can short bursts of exercise produce the same results? Research suggests yes, short micro workouts can help your mood and focus, which can be a powerful tool you can use throughout the day.
One study found participants who completed 10-minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise showed immediate improvements to their concentration compared to a group that sat and read instead.
Another study found participants who jogged for 15 minutes a day reduced their risk of depression and improved their mood. It may also be that less intense activity broken up throughout the day can also provide mood-enhancing benefits.
Short Workouts Can Increase Your Motivation and Save You Time
Setting aside time to go to the gym or workout for 30 minutes or more can feel overwhelming, especially on busy days. Working out for 10 minutes, however, feels more manageable. It’s easier to fit that in, whether it’s right before you get ready for the day or at the end of your day. It’s also brief enough to fit in during a lunch break while still having time to eat.
Knowing you only need to exercise for a short period can also feel easier. As you add in these micro workouts, you’ll see yourself succeeding and being consistent. This experience will help keep you motivated to continue working out, which can increase your self-confidence.
These short workouts also can save you time. Since you’re working out for only 10 minutes, it will be easier to push yourself to focus and exercise more intensely during that time than if you were working out for 30 minutes or more. You may find yourself being more present and mindful during your workouts.
After completing your micro workout, you’ll feel accomplished. You can carry this feeling throughout your day, which can help your mood. You’ll also notice improvements in your fitness and health over time since it’s easier to be more consistent with short workouts than longer ones. These improvements can keep you motivated and on target with your health and fitness goals. Then, it’s easier to create an exercise habit that becomes a routine that you do without having to think about it each day.
Choosing a 10-Minute Workout to Help With Your Fitness Goals
Now that you know 10-minute workouts help your body and mind, what kind of micro workout should you choose? The answer will depend partly on your personal fitness goals. These micro workouts can help improve your fitness, benefit your mood, and help with focus. However, if your overall goal is to run a 5K or lose weight quickly, you may need to intersperse your brief work with other exercise strategies.
If you’re currently not physically active most days or out of shape, 10-minute workouts can help you start an exercise habit that helps you toward your goals. If you haven’t been exercising, talk with your doctor to ensure the activities you select are right for you. Consider starting with 10-minute workouts like walking most days to build up your stamina and get your body used to exercising more. As your fitness improves, you can try interspersing your walks with micro workouts that involve more intensity.
If you exercise occasionally but aren’t as consistent as you like, 10-minute workouts like H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts may be a great starting point for you. You can perform these types of workouts at home and may not even need any special equipment. The idea is to perform an activity at a high-intensity level for a short period, followed by a recovery period.
If you’re looking for a way to supplement your exercise routine, 10-minute workouts can be helpful when you travel or on days when you don’t have time for your regular workout. These types of workouts can also help provide variety to your routine.
10-Minute Workouts Can Help You With Your Health and Fitness Goals
Short, 10-minute workouts are better than not exercising at all and can benefit your health, fitness, and mood. These micro workouts can help you establish an exercise routine, which is especially helpful if you’re not currently active. As you find yourself exercising consistently, you may also experience an increase in your self-confidence and motivation to workout.
While short workouts won’t fully prepare you for goals like running a 5K or being a bodybuilder, 10-minute workouts can help vary your routine and help on days when you don’t have much time.