10 Reasons To Love Quick Workouts
When life gets busy, it’s easy to look at your schedule and think, there’s no way I can fit in a workout. Whether you’re juggling the demands of work, study, family life or life has thrown you an unexpected curveball, it’s normal to have days or weeks where carving out 30-60 uninterrupted minutes to move your body is a big ask. On other days, you might have all the time in the world, but you don’t have the energy or motivation for a long workout.
Hold on a second. Who said a workout had to be long for it to be beneficial? Remember, as much as people can debate what the best workout looks like on paper, the best workout is the one you actually do, whether it takes you 10 minutes or 60.
Here at Sweat, we believe there are so many reasons to love quick workouts and we’re often choosing our next Sweat session from the Express Workouts section of the app. If you’re new to the world of short workouts, here are 10 reasons to fall in love with them.
You’re more likely to do them
Let’s face it, there are so many things that can get in the way of your workouts. Perhaps a meeting runs overtime, a social event comes up, children are demanding your attention, deadlines are creeping closer, or your motivation has flatlined.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), some common barriers to exercise include a lack of time, energy, facilities, or high costs. With short workouts, you can eliminate these barriers and find ways to move your body more often.
Squeezing in a lengthy workout (plus any additional time you need to get to the gym, change your clothes or set up equipment), can often feel impossible. But if you only need to find 10-20 minutes and it’s a workout you can do anywhere with little or no equipment? Much easier. You’re also more likely to do something that doesn’t feel so daunting.
Quick effective workouts can boost your fitness
2011 research has shown that regular high-intensity interval training can significantly increase both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Another 2019 study explained the power of short bursts of intense exercise, highlighting research which has shown the improvement of an individual’s VO2max after high-intensity interval training performed two days per week isn’t that different from training the same way four days per week.
Short workouts are also a great way to get and stay fit without having to put in hours of cardio training. One 2008 controlled clinical trial found that low-volume sprint interval training or repeated sessions of brief, intense intermittent exercise, result in metabolic adaptations that resemble traditional high-volume endurance training.
Short workouts add up!
The World Health Organisation and Mayo Clinic recommend adults complete at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. Complete just 11 minutes of high-intensity exercise each day and you’ve easily hit that 75-minute mark, or you could do five 15-minute workouts!
Short bursts of movement benefit your health
Believe it or not, you don’t need to hit the 30-minute mark before you start reaping the benefits of regular exercise. 2011 research has shown that short bursts of high-intensity exercise significantly lower insulin resistance and result in a number of skeletal muscle adaptations, leading to improved glucose tolerance and increased skeletal muscle capacity for the oxidation of fatty acids.
Studies looking at overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes have also shown greater reductions in subcutaneous and abdominal fat, and research published in the British Medical Journal concluded that while your health can benefit from both moderate-intensity workouts and short bursts of high-intensity training, HIIT led to increases in fitness, lifespan and quality of life.
It’s not just quick HIIT sessions that will have you reaping rewards, either! According to 2019 research published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, a few minutes of stair climbing, at short intervals throughout the day, can improve cardiovascular health, strength and fitness.
Mayo Clinic is also in support of short workouts, pointing out that any regular exercise strengthens your heart and cardiovascular system. They recommend shorter 10-minute sessions of aerobic activity if you don’t have much time or if you’re new to fitness and looking to build your fitness level. Doing frequent short workouts also means more regular hits of that mood-boosting endorphin rush!
Short, regular workouts make movement a habit
Getting into a consistent exercise routine can be challenging if you’re just starting your fitness journey or coming back from a break, especially if you’re setting lofty goals that aren’t realistic or achievable with your lifestyle.
The best fitness routine is one that is sustainable and you can keep up long-term, and for many of us, short workouts are the perfect way to make movement an everyday habit, rather than a once-a-week task we come to dread. After all, what you do most of the time makes more of a difference than what you do sometimes.
You have less risk of overtraining
As amazing as it can feel to be smashing workout after workout, overtraining can become a risk if you’re exercising for longer periods of time, performing regular HIIT workouts, or are already feeling fatigued or stressed in other areas of your life.
If you’ve noticed your fitness progress has stalled or is in decline, muscle soreness lasts for longer than usual, or your energy levels, mood, sleep quality or libido have taken a nosedive, it could be time to prioritise more rest days and enjoy shorter workouts instead.
Short workouts create more opportunities for movement
For some people, finding the time to exercise is the most challenging part of sticking to a fitness routine - a task that becomes even more difficult if your workouts are longer than 20 minutes, involve a lengthy commute or require specific gym equipment.
Workouts between 10-20 minutes are like exercise snacks - you can fit them in between meetings if you’re working from home, add them to the end of a walk, or enjoy a quick blast in the park while you’re waiting for your kids to finish sports practice.
It’s easier to find the energy and motivation
After a long day, a 45-minute workout might be the last thing you feel like doing. But 15 minutes? That sounds more doable. Some people even find once they’ve finished, they’re feeling good enough to add another one!
If you’re struggling to even begin, why not try the 5-minute rule? Commit to five minutes of movement where you give it your all, and then decide whether you want to keep working out when the timer goes off. Find that five minutes is more than enough? No worries! But we have a sneaking suspicion that once you start, you’ll be motivated to keep going.
Short workouts are a great way to try new things
Keen to try a new training style, say Pilates, barre or boxing, but don’t want to commit to a full workout in case it’s not your thing? Dip your toe in with a 10-15 minute workout instead! This is a great amount of time to have a go at something and see if it’s your jam without feeling intimidated.
Short workouts are a helpful stepping stone
If you’re looking at longer workouts in the Sweat app and wondering how to build your fitness to give them a go, short workouts are a great place to start. Over time you’ll start to feel confident with different movements and training intensities, and feel ready to take on those longer Sweat sessions!
Remember, a workout doesn’t need to be long to be worthwhile. Make the most of the time you have and you’ll soon love quick workouts as much as we do!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.