Why Your Muscles Love a Quick Workout
by Autumn Jones
When your schedule's full and your energy's low, it can be tempting to blow off your gym visit. We get it! But research shows you don't have to commit to hours of running, squatting, and lifting to get all the great benefits that working out provides.
In fact, making time for a quick workout just a few times each week can help you improve your health and get stronger.
The buzz around short exercise routines like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and sprint interval training (SIT) is more than just hype. Here's what you need to know about the benefit of 10-minute workouts, and why they just might be the time saving game-changer you've been waiting for.
Short Workouts Are an Easier Commitment
Two-for-one deals aren't just for cereal and socks! According to research published in the journal Plos One, people who opt for time-efficient exercise programs report enjoying their workouts more, mostly due to the fact that they're able to save time.
As a bonus, knowing that you can conquer your fitness goals in a short amount of time can also serve as motivation on days when you may be tempted to skip your scheduled gym visit. It's a win-win!
You Can Build Muscle and Reduce Blood Pressure
There are also a few physical benefits to quick workouts. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that it's possible to gain muscles mass (most frequently in the core and legs) with just 12 weeks of short, high-intensity workouts.
Part of good heart health is maintaining normal blood pressure, and one way to keep your ticker pumping at a steady pace is to exercise regularly. Best of all, you don't have to clock tons of hours of cardio (or hit the weights super hard) to make your heart happy!
In a study published by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers learned that completing three 10-minute sessions of brisk walking throughout the week were just as effective at lowering blood pressure as one 30-minute session of brisk walking. This shows just how much a quick workout can contribute to your long-term health. You don't have to spend hours at the gym!
Quick Gym Visits Save Time and Keep You Moving
For anyone who's struggling to fit exercise into their daily schedule, short workouts are a time-saving gift from the fitness gods. For instance, it's been found that short, intense workouts can provide the same results as consistent moderate-intensity exercise — but with a fraction of the time commitment — according to the Journal of Physiology.
On those days when you simply can't make it to the gym, getting your body moving in any way (even for 10 minutes) is better than not moving it at all! Consider hopping on your bike, having an impromptu dance party, doing some jumping jacks, or cleaning your house as quickly as possible; anything that gets you up and active for a period of time can contribute to your body's overall health!
A Little + a Little = a Lot
Even though you may only be exercising for 10 minutes at a time, all that moving around can add up and provide some serious health benefits. According to research conducted at the University of Utah, regular bouts of brisk activity can lead to calorie burn that eventually lowers an individual's body mass index.
Additionally, a study published in Sports Medicine found that quick (but challenging) workouts keep your metabolism in high-gear for hours after your workout. Just as HIIT and SIT exercises can help you get stronger, they serve to build up your stamina as well. Over time, the more work you put in — even if it's just a little bit every now and then — the more you stand to gain in terms of overall well-being!
As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.