How can a 10-minute workout do more for your health?

We are advised to work out for at least 15 to 20 minutes in order to see health-beneficial results, but surprisingly, a study says 10 minutes can be enough for you. Even having short bursts of exercise is considered particularly essential, especially if you have a fast-paced lifestyle. 

The good news is that there are various workout sessions you can easily do anywhere within 10 minutes. You can choose based on your focused areas that need improvement. Now, you can skip the guilt of not visiting a gym for more than one hour.

The 10-minute workout 

When you have a limited time in a day, a set of 10-minute workouts can be a life changer. Having three times of 10-minute workouts daily can enhance your overall wellness, similar to when you do a 30-minute continuous workout. Here’s an example of a 10-minute workout routine: 

  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 10 jump squats
  • Five burpees
  • 10 Sumo squats
  • 10 Alternating reverse lunges 
  • 10 Push-ups with alternating shoulder taps

Each of these routines can burn up to around 60 to 70 calories when executed properly and intensely within 10 minutes. 

Stretching

This is pretty much basic but essential to keep your body functioning. You must change position and stretch when you drive, stand or sit for a long period of time.

Ten minutes of stretching at least once or twice a day can make a change in your overall fitness. After your walk, you can add a 10-minute stretching to enhance your flexibility and balance. 

From standing at your desk to replacing your commute with a walk – here are some of the things you can do to bring exercise into your everyday.

Cardio

This one refers to any movement that can increase your heart rate and blood circulation. And any cardio movements can burn off calories.

Some of the possible cardio activities you can do for 10 minutes are brisk walking during your lunch break, walking up and down the stairs and exercising to your three favourite music that should be equal in total to 10 minutes. 

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Working out for 10 minutes can help enhance your oxygen uptake – a measure of endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

In fact, a randomised control study found out that overweight or obese women improved their cardiorespiratory fitness just by walking for only 10 to 15 minutes every day, in comparison with a control group [1]. 

Additionally, in another research conducted with sedentary men, the researchers found that a short interval group, who biked for 10 minutes of high intensity, increased their oxygen uptake, similar to another group who exercised for at least 50 minutes with a moderate heart rate [2].

The two research groups have shown the same fitness improvements, while the control group did better within the 12-week study. 

Strength training

Getting stronger does not need to be expensive with gym fees. You can simply do routines in the comfort of your home.

In the morning, you can do lunges and bicep curls for 10 minutes. While in the middle of the day, you can then lift and lower weights using dumbbells, barbells or other weights (like water bottles or bricks).

At night, you can do squats or calf raises to strengthen your lower-body muscles for 10 minutes. 

Exercise also requires a lot of energy, which the body provides through adenosine triphosphate (ATP), used to power our muscles.

Study on 10-min workouts

It’s not a drill! A 10-minute workout really works, according to studies. One recent one showed that short bouts of physical activity divided all throughout your day can give benefits when executed correctly [3]. 

Health experts suggest that brisk walking, jumping rope, stair climbing, high-intensity interval workouts and other quick physical activity can get your body moving and increase your heart rate – these two may bring positive health results, such as reduction of blood pressure and improvement of anxiety for better sleep quality and focus. 

Furthermore, exercise snacks can eliminate some unnecessary things to become healthy, like the costs of a gym subscription, gym equipment and time spent in the fitness facility. The key to exercising snacks is doing it intensely or vigorously. 

The health experts 

Many health experts recommend that a shout bout of exercise can be distinctively effective for people who are new to fitness and physical activity.

One of them is John Jakicic from the University of Kansas Medical Centre Faculty. He added that the research says that such brief spells of activity may help in improving exercise adherence, promoting weight loss and managing hunger.

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The idea of an all-or-nothing approach is said to be ineffective as it leaves you with nothing at all. Hence, the 10-minute workout is easy to perform. 

The majority of us can’t comply with the 30-minute exercise recommendation due to lifestyle, work and perhaps medical conditions.

Thus, 10-minute workouts within a day can help in keeping your shape on track. If you are aiming to shed pounds, you must also take into consideration your diet intake, including calories, proteins and other essential nutrients. 

Your overall wellness can improve with 10-minute workouts, as these can enhance your mental and physical health at the same time.

Incorporating four 10-minute brisk walks in a day can actually decrease your blood pressure, similar to 40 minutes of continuous moderate exercise [4]. Performing smaller blocks of exercise can undo the effects of too much sitting, screen time and desk slump. 

Moreover, longer sitting can decrease your brain blood flow which basically deprives your brain of its needed nutrients and vitamins to thrive, according to the associate professor of McMaster University in Canada who works in kinesiology and the director of the NeuroFit lab.

Consistent breaks as short as two minutes every 30 minutes can aid in decreased blood flow. With 10-minute workouts, you promote a healthy mental condition. Streaming exercise classes or sessions online can help in making your workout more structured if you prefer. 

Agencies and organisations on 10-min workout

The World Health Organization (WHO), a public health agency, recommends adults perform at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity workouts or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity workouts a week like aerobic physical activity.

Doing any of these two can promote your overall health. Health experts believe that dividing these to 10 minutes at a time is ideal.

Aside from WHO, the US Department of Health and Human Services also backed up this claim by updating their physical-activity guidelines in 2018, stating that any period of exercise could work. 

If you have a little more time, you can also extend at least 5 to 10 minutes. A study that was published in the European Heart Journal in October suggests that approximately 15 to 20 minutes of vigorous activity weekly can result in a 16 percent to 40 percent lower mortality rate in the research participants. This is basically two minutes of vigorous movements every day. 

Choosing a 10-minute workout

So, what kind of workout is appropriate for you to do in 10 minutes? Start by establishing your personal fitness goals to identify which is best for you, whether you need to improve your cardio, flexibility or strength.

Just by exercising every day for 10 minutes, you enhance your fitness, positively change your mood and help you become more attentive and focused. 

The 10-minute workout is also perfect for people who have not started a solid fitness routine or were not physically active for quite a while.

It can help in starting a good fitness routine and making a set of habits and schedule to achieve your fitness goals. Ideally, you can start with the most basic one, which is brisk walking, to build up your stamina and condition your body to exercise more.

As you do more 10-minute workouts, you may also advance your workouts into more intense ones. However, if you have a medical condition, it is best to ask your physician first before starting any micro-exercises [5]. 

Why do 10-minute workouts work?

1. Eliminate the “I don’t have time” excuse

No more excuses that you don’t have time to exercise, as 10 minutes is not long. It helps remove that excuse to become more active. 

2. Increase your fitness motivation

Thinking that you need to be active for more than half an hour can be hard. However, becoming more active in just 10 minutes is just mentally achievable. 

3. Regulate your appetite

During long workout sessions, you may develop this mental state that you ‘deserve’ to eat more than what you eat in a day instead of eating less. Research has also proved that in just two minutes of exercise, you can suppress your appetite, while long periods of steady-state cardio significantly increase it [6]. 

4. Save time while getting results

As the study suggests, it is not about the time but how intense the workout is. Hence, you can save time and still get positive results. 

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[1] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1108370 
[2] https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075#sec005 
[3] https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/JP276849 [4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16751820/ 
[5] https://itstimetexas.org/can-10-minute-workouts-really-improve-your-health/ 
[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409701/ 

Photograph: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock
The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.