Study Finds 10 Minutes of Exercise Is All You Need

The benefits of physical activity are numerous, and in fact, getting regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. But when you live a busy life (which we all do), setting aside an hour a day seems impossible. Sometimes even a 30 minute workout just isn’t feasible.

If you’re incredibly short on time, here’s some incredible news: There is overwhelming evidence that exercising for even 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference in your health and fitness level.

The evolution of exercise

Female hands lacing-up running shoes.

How much exercise do you really need? | Fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

If it seems like you’ve been given different exercise advice throughout your life, you’re not wrong.┬áDetermining the minimal dose of exercise to recommend to the public is no easy task, especially since we are all so different. But there was a time when no one ever would have believed that a 10 minute workout could make a difference.

Short workouts vs. long workouts

Woman running on city road.

Longer workouts aren’t necessarily better than shorter ones. | Lzf/iStock/Getty Images

There is an ongoing debate on the effectiveness of short workouts and whether or not longer is better. We do know that short bursts of high intensity interval training can be more effective than 45 minutes of moderate cardio, but longer workouts can help us build endurance. Ideally, we could do both — a couple of lengthy sweat sessions every week mixed in with a couple of short workouts leads to long-term fitness.

But many of us simply don’t have the time for long gym sessions. And the good news is, thanks to the popularity of HIIT workouts, we really don’t need them to be fit.

The study

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This new research study might change the way you view your workouts. | istockphotoluis/iStock/Getty Images

A team of researchers published the results of their study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. For the study, 464 postmenopausal women participated, none of whom were exercising beforehand. The women were assigned to four groups: the control group that stayed sedentary, a light exercise group that averaged 72 minutes of exercise per week, a moderate exercise group, and a high exercise group.

The researchers were pleased to see that the women in the light exercise group increased their peak oxygen consumption levels by 4.2%. They also reported feeling better and breathing easier.

The 10 minute transformation

Women looking away while running on treadmill.

Don’t stress over the timer on the treadmill. | G-stockstudio/iStock/Getty Images

While the study indicates that a 10 minute workout is good for our health, there’s still the matter of our waistlines. After all, the majority of us workout so that we’ll look good, not just feel good.

Luckily, it seems that 10 minutes of daily exercise can also help you lose weight or maintain a healthy BMI. Prevention magazine even crafted a program called Fit in 10 that offers 10 minute workouts and healthy 10 minute recipes, and it has proven to be very effective.

Proof that 10 minutes is all you need

Females workout in gym with barbell.

The quality of your workout should be your focus. | Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images

Despite the mounting evidence, it can be difficult to believe that anyone could get into shape in just 10 minutes a day. But it happens. Renata Zajac lost 12 pounds and 17 inches in a mere eight weeks just by cleaning up her diet and doing 10 minute workouts. In addition to dropping weight quickly, Zajac noticed she was able to run up the subway stairs faster and felt more confident walking into work meetings.

Make the most of those 10 minutes

A woman sits wiping away her sweat.

You can work up quite a sweat in just 10 minutes. | Funduck/iStock/Getty Images

While it’s true that any exercise is better than none, if you’re hoping to lose a few pounds or get into better shape, you’ve got to make the most of your time. That’s why HIIT workouts are so effective — they often work several major muscle groups at once. Plus, they tap into your body’s reserves of fat, which elevates your metabolism for hours.

A 10 minute workout you can do anywhere

Female athlete with a sports bag listening to music on her mobile phone.

You can sneak this quick workout into your busy day. | Ammentorp Photography/iStock/Getty Images

Not only are 10 minute workouts effective, but in some cases, you don’t need any equipment or room to complete them. Ben Greenfield, fitness and triathlon expert, recommends completing these moves three times:

  • 50 jumping jacks
  • 15 body weight squats
  • 15 push-ups (on your knees is fine)
  • 15 reverse lunges per side
  • 15 tricep dips (using a chair or bench)

Try doing this workout every morning and see if you notice a difference in a couple of weeks. Your results might surprise you.