Raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself thinking, “I just don’t have time to workout.”
We’ve all been there. In today’s busy world, finding a solid hour or so to do a workout can be hard – it can even feel impossible. But what about finding ten minutes?
More manageable, right?
The real question, then:
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Are shorter workouts throughout the day as effective as one single long workout?
The short answer?
I know what you’re thinking.
How on earth is working out for only 10 minutes at a time better than doing an hour-long workout?
We all know exercise is important, but for most of us, we think we need to spend a crazy amount of time at the gym to reap any real rewards. Everyone knows that longer workouts are better, right?
Numerous studies are all pointing to the same thing: Shorter workouts are just as good as long ones.
Let’s get to the evidence:
A recent study published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal concludes, “A Simple, fast, high-intensity workout – finished in as little as seven minutes – will produce many of the same benefits as a good run and trip to the weight room.”
In fact according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Several short workouts throughout the day are proven to be just as effective as one long duration workout”.
Not only are these studies showing that these short workouts are just as effective but there are even more studies showing the added health benefits to shorter workouts.
Why shorter workouts may be better than long ones:
Researchers at the Capital University of Physical Education and Sports in Beijing were able to do a study that included monitors on each subject’s ankles. These monitors helped measure changes in blood flow – a great way to measure arterial stiffness. Less stiffness equals better health.
These monitors showed that those who did shorter sessions of workouts had just as pliable arteries as those that did longer workouts. But what happened after was surprising. The pliability of the arteries on those that did the longer workouts started to dissipate long before those that did the shorter sessions.
In other words: Shorter workouts leads to less stiffness in the arteries – an important factor in overall health.
Similarly, when researchers examined exercise and blood pressure control they found improved blood pressure was seen across the board for those that did long workouts as well as those that did short workouts, but those that did short workouts also benefited from fewer spikes in their blood pressure throughout the day. Fewer spikes in blood pressure indicate better blood pressure control.
Of course, for many people there’s a big giant elephant in the room that needs discussing:
Can shorter workouts help you lose weight?
Some people mistakenly believe that to lose weight you need to spend a lot of time working out.
Good news, short workouts help you lose inches, too.
Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that short bouts of exercise shaved inches off the hips and waistline of those that participated in the study.
And another study published in American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2006 showed that even short walks after eating a big meal were more effective than long exercise sessions when it came to reducing the amount of fat and triglyceride levels in the bloodstream.
Shorter exercises can help you in your weight loss goals just as well (if not better) than longer exercise bouts.
Movement > Exercise
Beyond the important health benefits, shorter workouts that are spread out through the day help us shift the mentality from “exercise” to “movement.” Movement is essential to life, but for many, it’s been reduced to that hour-long workout. We check it off the to-do list and slump back into our sedentary ways – a lifestyle that is slowly killing us.
When the shift moves from “blocking out this precious chunk of time to exercise” to “I move throughout the day” you are setting yourself up for lifelong changes that honor your body’s natural tendencies.
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