If you’re running out of time to exercise today, you should probably just skip it, right? Wrong. You can reap the benefits of working out with sweat sessions as short as five minutes. You read that correctly: five minutes. Still skeptical? Keep reading to learn more about how micro-workouts can boost your health and strengthen your body.
Do 5-Minute Workouts Help?
It’s possible you’ve never considered working out for only five minutes. It doesn’t sound like enough time to make a difference. After all, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion says that aerobic activity lasting longer than 10 minutes in duration counts toward the 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise you should aim to get each week. But that doesn’t mean shorter, high-intensity exercises can’t help.
What the Science Says
Women who incorporated short bursts of high-intensity activities into everyday life had a small decrease in their body mass index (BMI), compared to control subjects. Men had similar results. The calorie burn during this short but intense session of exercise allowed the women to weigh about 1/2 pound less than their nonactive counterparts. Odds of obesity also went down for both men and women who did these quickie workouts. The key is kicking up the intensity level of whatever you’re doing, versus focusing solely on the length of time.
Fitting Exercise Into Your Routine
This all sounds good, but you may feel like finding even five minutes to exercise is impossible with your busy schedule. Or maybe when you finally do get some downtime, you just want to rest. Nobody says staying fit is easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible either.
Tips for Finding Time
- Use TV commercial breaks to your advantage. You can get up and do jumping jacks or get down and do pushups before your television show resumes.
- Try the nano workout method by exercising while you do daily tasks like brushing your teeth. Instead of just standing there, do a few calf raises.
- Set a reminder on your phone to motivate you to exercise throughout the day. You could close your office door to do yoga, or take a short walk as a work break.
- Walk to complete errands instead of driving. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away from the store.
Keep it consistent for the best results. After a while, you may tweak your routine just enough that more movement naturally fits into your day.
Short Workouts to Try
- Work your core with XHIT’s “5 Minute Abs” routine. You’ll complete a series of five exercises that are each one-minute long. Prepare to become an expert at straight-edged planks, hip thrusts, oblique crunches, side planks, and full situps.
- POPSUGAR Fitness shares a “5-Minute Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workout” video for those of you who need an all-over burn. You’ll start with jumping jacks and sprint intervals. Then you’ll move on to pike jumps, scissor jacks, and jumping lunges and squats.
- The “4-Minute Tabata Workout” by Rebekah Borucki has been viewed over 2 million times. It’s part of her series titled “You have four minutes”—and it’s killer. Each exercise in the workout is performed twice, each for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. She suggests doing it as a warmup to a longer routine or as a start to your morning.
Not near a computer? Set your watch or phone for a five-minute alarm and try doing as many bodyweight exercises as you can fit in. You can do pushups, situps, planks, squats, jumps, lunges, jogging in place, or whatever else. Just stick to it and try to get to the highest intensity level possible. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water when you’re done!
Takeaway: Get Moving
Yes, just five minutes of exercise at a time can be beneficial to your health in many ways. If you’re still not sure it’s enough, try doing one of the workouts in the section above. When you finally catch your breath, ask yourself again if five minutes can get your heart pumping.
Ashley Marcin is a writer and founder of lifestyle blogs. This article was originally published on Healthline