8 Surprising Benefits of Super Short Workouts

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Contrast that with the all-or-nothing exerciser, who tends to throw themselves into an intense, unrealistic workout regimen that doesn’t excite or motivate them. Like I’ve seen with my clients, that’s not sustainable for more than a few weeks at a time. And what comes next? A period of inactivity after that burnout. Cue the cycle of active and sedentary periods, and the not-fun feeling like you’re starting from square one every single time you want to start moving again.

4. Your body can better adapt to exercise.

Your body needs time to adjust to the new physical stresses you’re putting on it; your bones, tendons, ligaments, joints, and muscles will all be feeling it after you start an exercise routine. And if you jump into too much too soon—say, super long workouts right out of the gate—you might not be able to keep up with those demands. In fact, according to a 2021 study in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, new exercisers are way more likely to get injured than those who have been at it for longer.

When workouts leave you hurt, aching, or physically fried, it can scare you off from exercising—no one wants to feel worse after doing something they should enjoy. Starting with shorter, fewer workouts and building up to longer, more frequent sessions (if that’s your thing) can be the gradual approach your body needs to safely adjust.

5. The health benefits of quick routines are legit.

You may be thinking, “Sure, those shorter workouts feel more fun, but do they actually do anything for me?” Rest assured: They bring a bunch of perks. That’s why when the US Department of Health and Human Services most recently updated its physical activity guidelines, it removed the 10-minute minimum duration for each bout of it—because any amount of exercise can be really beneficial.

According to a 2018 study in Frontiers in Physiology, performing a daily, six-minute circuit workout for four weeks was enough to improve functional strength by as much as 20%—as well as boost the number of push-ups, burpees, and single-leg squats the participants could perform. What’s more, separate research has found that shorter spurts of exercise (say, 15 minutes or less), can help reduce your blood pressure, lower your triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), increase your “good” cholesterol, and improve other risk factors for heart disease.

6. You dial in your routine and become more intentional with it.

New clients often tell me they spend way too much time aimlessly roaming the gym, unsure of what their plan is or what they want to accomplish—meaning a good chunk of their hour-long session is spent not working out, but still taking their time away from other stuff. That’s another reason why short routines can be great: When your time is limited, you tend to go into it with a lot more focus and more intention.

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