A workout that is done and dusted in the time it takes to boil the kettle and make a cup of tea sounds too good to be true. But evidence suggests that short, high-intensity workouts could be just as effective as longer periods of exercise, so you really can get your exercise for the day done in just 10 minutes (or even less).
A 2016 study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that 10-minute intensive workouts had the same benefits for cardiometabolic health as 50 minutes of endurance training over a period of 12 weeks, meaning an effective workout doesn’t have to be an hour-long slog.
“A lot of people associate the quality of a workout with how long it is, but that is not always the case,” says Sean Kazab, trainer and fitness manager at fitness app FIIT. “Sometimes short but intense workouts can drive fitness adaptations just like longer continuous bouts of exercise. HIIT workouts as short as four minutes have been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness.
“However, not all short workouts have to be intense,” he continues. “A short core workout not only provides some physical improvements but also help reinforce healthy habits, and we know the more frequently we exercise the more ingrained it becomes in our daily life. Short bursts help you keep consistent with exercise, which is key to achieving your goals.”
If done correctly and consistently, not only do 10-minute workouts offer the health benefits of longer exercise sessions, they are also more likely to be fitted into a busy schedule around work and caring responsibilities and become a daily habit that will last (rather than longer workouts we only fit in once or twice a week).
Healthy habits are proven to lead to a longer life and a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. For example, one 2019 study in the British Medical Journal found those who practised healthy lifestyle habits including daily exercise in midlife lived approximately nine years longer free from major chronic disease than their counterparts (an average of 10.7 years for women and 7.6 years for men).
“The best workout plan is one that you can stick to, so assigning yourself an hour every day when you don’t have that time won’t work. Assigning yourself a doable 10-minute …….