Are you pressed for time? Feeling like you can’t get in a good workout because you don’t have enough hours in the day? Turns out, shorter workouts might be more effective than long ones. Here’s what science says.
So, you probably think that because I’m a fitness pro, I must think that long workouts are the best way to go. And you would be wrong. In fact, recent science suggests that shorter workouts might actually be more effective – both in terms of calorie burn and overall fitness gains.
While there haven’t been many large-scale studies on the subject yet, what has been published looks pretty convincing. One study from 2012 looked at two groups of people who were all doing the same amount of exercise each week – but with different time frames.
The first group did theirs in one shot, while the second group broke it into three weekly sessions. At the end of the study, researchers found that those in the second group lost more weight and body fat than those in the first group.
However, other research shows that short workouts throughout the day can be just as good as longer ones. The American Journal of Health Promotion published a study in 2013 that found short bursts of moderate to vigorous physical activity help people lose weight and keep it off. The study also showed that more intense activity might be the best way to lower the risk of becoming obese.
For every daily minute spent in short bursts of higher-intensity activity, the BMI went down by about 0.07, which is just under half a pound. Also, about 5% of women and 2% of men were less likely to be obese for every minute of higher-intensity activity they did every day.
The people who took part in the study came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Since 1999, this survey has been asking adults and children in the United States about their health and nutrition.
Benefits of Shorter Workouts Backed Up by Studies
It’s not just the NHANES study that shows that short workouts add up:
- A small study of 11 obese people in 2013 found that intermittent exercise made them feel fuller and less hungry than continuous exercise.
- A 2016 study of about 1,000 older adults showed similar results. Researchers think that older people may have trouble exercising for longer periods of time. The study found that moderate to vigorous physical activity for less than 10 minutes was linked to a lower risk of being overweight and better metabolic health.
- Based on the current evidence, a 2019 review of 29 studies found that physical activity of any length (less than or more than 10 minutes) is linked to better health outcomes like weight loss and a lower risk of death from all causes.
Moreover, another research shows that adding short workouts with a higher intensity can be helpful to a routine that also includes longer workouts. But some exercise is better than none at all.
Prioritizing longer workouts is only important if you’re training for a specific competition or sport, like preparing your body for marathons and other endurance-based races or sports.
With proven results, it will help you in every way and won’t mess up your schedule. Read on to find out why a short but intense workout is good for you.
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Shorter Workouts Keep Your Interest
Working out is important for maintaining your health, but finding the time to hit the gym for a lengthy session can be tough. And, let’s be honest, sometimes those long workouts are just plain boring. That’s why shorter workouts may be the best solution for you.
Not only will you be able to fit them into your busy schedule, but shorter workouts are also more likely to keep your interest. After all, who wants to spend an hour on the treadmill when you can get just as good of a workout in 20 minutes? Plus, shorter workouts help to keep your motivation high, which is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
So next time you feel uninspired by your workout routine, try shorter workouts more often. You may just find that they’re what you need to get back on track.
Many people think that they need to spend hours at the gym to see results from their workout routine. However, this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, shorter and more intense workouts can actually be more beneficial in many ways.
Helps Boost Metabolism
For one, shorter workouts more often can help boost your metabolism. This is because exercising regularly makes your body more efficient at burning calories. So, even if you’re only working out for a short period of time, you’re still helping to rev up your metabolism.
In addition, shorter workouts are more effective in terms of calorie burn. Research has shown that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can burn up to 9 times more calories than traditional, moderate-intensity cardio. So, shorter and more intense workouts are the way to go if you want to maximize your calorie burn.
Finally, shorter workouts can help suppress your appetite. This is because when you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which have been shown to reduce hunger levels. So, if you’re trying to lose weight or simply eat less, exercising for a short period of time can be helpful.
Overall, there are many benefits to doing shorter and more intense workouts. If you’re looking to boost your metabolism, burn more calories, or suppress your appetite, these workouts may be right for you.
Burn More Fat, Build Lean Muscle
Wouldn’t it be great if we could just wave a magic wand and instantly have the bodies we’ve always wanted? Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to getting in shape. However, there is one simple way to make your workouts more effective: shorter workouts more often.
It may seem counterintuitive, but shorter workouts are actually more effective for burning fat and building lean muscle. The key is intensity. When you work out for shorter periods, you can push yourself harder and get your heart rate up to its fat-burning zone more quickly.
As a result, you’ll burn more calories in a shorter time. In addition, shorter workouts force the body to use stored energy, leading to the development of leaner muscles. Moreover, consistency is the key to building muscles, and shorter workouts are more manageable and easier to fit into your busy schedule.
So if you find yourself skipping the gym because you don’t have time for a long workout, try shorter workouts more often instead. You might be surprised at how much better you feel - and how much better you look.
We all know that feeling of dragging ourselves to the gym day after day, only to end up feeling exhausted and rundown. But what if I told you that shorter workouts could actually lead to greater clarity and productivity?
Recent studies have shown that shorter, more intense workouts can actually improve cognitive function and increase work performance. One study found that just 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training improved participants’ ability to remember information and stay focused.
Short Workouts to Try Right Away
Creating a plan for short workouts can help you stick to your goals. For example, you might work on your upper body on Tuesday and your lower body on Wednesday. Or, you might find that a full-body workout gets you going in the morning, and strength training helps you feel good at night.
Having a series of short workout routines to fall back on can help break up the monotonous routine and keep you motivated. Try doing different workouts at different times during the week to keep things interesting. Just make sure to include longer activities like jogging, cycling, or fast walking to mix up together.
Try out these short workouts to work your body in less time:
- Quick & Effective Bodyweight Workout for Women: This bodyweight workout is designed for women and can be completed in about 30 minutes. The exercises are simple and effective and can be done anywhere with no equipment required.
- The Best Kettlebell Exercises for At-Home Workouts: These are 12 short workouts using only kettlebells and can be easily performed in the comfort of your own home. You can switch them every day and do it in less than 20 minutes.
- 3 Day Workout Plan for Busy People: This workout plan is perfect for busy people who are short on time. The workouts are all three days long, and you can repeat them as many times as you need to. It is a full-body routine and can easily adjust to your other workout routines.
- 14 Weeks Full Body HIIT Calorie Destroyer Workout & Meal Plan: This workout routine is a 14-week program that incorporates high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to help you burn calories and lose weight in just 25-30 mins daily. The program alternates between cardio and strength training exercises, so you’ll get the best of both worlds. Be sure to warm up and cool down before and after each workout.
- This Workout Plan Will Help You Burn 300 Calories in 30 Minutes: This workout plan will help you burn 300 calories in only 30 minutes! The exercises are easy to follow and will help you increase your heart rate and metabolism. The exercises are high-intensity, so make sure to give it your all.
1. How long should my workouts be to be effective?
Short workouts are more effective than long ones. A recent study showed that people who exercised for 30 minutes per day, five days a week, lost more weight and body fat than those who worked out for an hour per day. In fact, the study showed that the hour-a-day exercisers actually gained weight!
2. What is the best time of day to work out?
Again, this depends on your individual goal. Some people find that they have more energy in the morning and prefer to work out then, while others find that they have more energy in the evening and prefer to workout then. It really doesn’t matter when you work out as long as you’re consistent.
3. How often should I work out?
As often as you can fit it into your schedule! A good goal is to try to exercise for at least 30 minutes five times a week. And if you can’t fit in a full 30 minutes, don’t worry – even 10 or 15 minutes of vigorous exercise is better than nothing.
4. Are there any risks associated with shorter workouts?
There are a few risks associated with shorter workouts, but they’re all manageable if you’re careful. First, there’s the risk of injuries. Because shorter workouts tend to be more intense, there’s a greater chance you could pull a muscle or injure yourself in some other way if you’re not careful. Second, there’s the risk of not getting enough rest. If you’re constantly pushing yourself to the limit in your workouts, your body can start to wear down, and you might get sick more often. So give time for proper rest between your sets, and don’t forget to cool down at the end.
5. How can I make sure my shorter workout is effective?
If you’re looking to make sure your shorter workouts are effective, you can do a few things. Make sure that you’re working all of your major muscle groups. Focus on compound exercises that work for multiple muscle groups at once. And don’t be afraid to go heavy - lifting heavier weights will help you build muscle and burn more fat. Work smarter, not harder, and you’ll see great results from your shorter workouts!
So, what does the research say? Shorter workouts are more effective than long ones when it comes to maintaining your interest and getting better results. You can exercise anywhere, anytime – all you need is a little bit of space and determination. And if you’re looking to burn more fat and build lean muscle, shorter workouts might be just what you need.
- Boutcher, Stephen H. “High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss.” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2011, 2011, p. 868305. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/868305.
- Fan, Jessie X., et al. “Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity and Weight Outcomes: Does Every Minute Count?” American Journal of Health Promotion, vol. 28, no. 1, Sept. 2013, pp. 41–49. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.4278/ajhp.120606-QUAL-286.
- Harold W. Kohl, I. I. I., et al. Physical Activity, Fitness, and Physical Education: Effects on Academic Performance. National Academies Press (US), 2013. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK201501/.
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- Ito, Shigenori. “High-Intensity Interval Training for Health Benefits and Care of Cardiac Diseases - The Key to an Efficient Exercise Protocol.” World Journal of Cardiology, vol. 11, no. 7, July 2019, pp. 171–88. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.4330/wjc.v11.i7.171.
- Jefferis, Barbara J., et al. “Does Duration of Physical Activity Bouts Matter for Adiposity and Metabolic Syndrome? A Cross-Sectional Study of Older British Men.” International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, vol. 13, no. 1, Mar. 2016, p. 36. BioMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-016-0361-2.
- Mandolesi, Laura, et al. “Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, Apr. 2018, p. 509. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00509.
- NHANES - National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Homepage. 25 Aug. 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/index.htm.
- Godman, Heidi. “Regular Exercise Changes the Brain to Improve Memory, Thinking Skills.” Harvard Health, 9 Apr. 2014, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110.