Marathon workout sessions may be impressive, but there are plenty of benefits to short workouts as well. There are a lot of reasons why you might choose to perform short, effective workouts as well as (and sometimes in place of) mammoth gym sessions. Here are some of the best.
One of the benefits of short workouts is that they are simply easier to fit in. It’s a lot more convenient to exercise when all you need is 20 minutes than when you know it’s going to take a 3-hour chunk out of your day.
A side benefit related to convenience is reliability. Relatively few people can really make working out for several hours a day stick. Short, effective workouts are much easier to sneak into your life, which means that you are much more likely to actually exercise when you mean to, instead of realizing at bedtime that you didn’t work out. It’s better to plan on 15 minutes and actually make it than to hope for 2 hours and miss out on your workout altogether.
3. Avoiding Boredom
Mammoth workout sessions can grow boring. In contrast, short, effective workouts generally feel much more exciting and interesting. This can help you to stay engaged throughout the workout, which can help you to keep working at your full potential and to avoid accidentally injuring yourself.
4. Increased Efficiency
One benefit of short bursts of exercise is that it’s easier to keep working at your full capacity throughout your entire session. While it isn’t a given that a long workout will lead to wasted time, people are often more motivated to make their time count when they know it’s limited.
5. Stress Reduction
Exercise makes a great mood booster, and you can get emotional benefits even if you don’t work out for hours on end. If you are stressed at the office, try to squeeze in a 15-minute workout at lunch and see if it improves your mood. You may be surprised by how big a difference working out for a little while can make.
6. Avoiding Overworking
Sometimes when it comes to fitness, less is more. Building muscle is dependent on a large number of factors, and proper rest is one of those things. Sometimes your body doesn’t want a monster gym session. Sometimes your body just wants something short and sweet to help it get healthier without expending a lot of energy. Giving yourself the freedom to have a short workout sometimes can help you to avoid problems of overtraining and burnout.
7. Increased Fat Burning
It may seem counterintuitive to say that working out for a shorter period of time could actually help you to burn more fat, but that is exactly what some studies seem to show. At least, it can be the case, depending on how you exercise. Short workouts are great times to squeeze in some high-intensity interval training.
High-intensity interval training is a method of training that alternates between short periods of extreme effort and equally short rest periods. It’s a great way to get an intense workout in a short amount of time, and the benefits of short bursts of exercise like this can be amazing. Interval training is thought to help build muscle, burn more calories, temporarily increase your metabolic rate, improve your speed, and help you build endurance. Not bad for something you can do in under half an hour!
8. A Longer Life
If none of those previous benefits of short workouts are convincing to you, what about the potential to live longer? A study performed in Taiwan found that spending just 15 minutes a day exercising helped its participants to increase their life expectancy by 3 years. It should be noted that this didn’t even require super intense exercise. Even moderate exercise helped to give a higher life expectancy.
9. A Better Life
Exercising doesn’t just help you live longer, it helps you enjoy more out of life. Squeezing in short workouts can help you to increase your level of activity, which can help you to look and feel healthier. When done properly, exercise is good for your muscles and joints, which can help you to avoid aches and pains. It’s good for your heart and lungs, and it’s good for your mood and your mind. Even if you wish you were running marathons, don’t discount the real benefits that even short workouts can bring you.
10. Every Little Bit Helps
No matter whether you have an hour to exercise or just 5 minutes, being active bears great dividends. If you embrace the chance to have short, effective workouts, you are doing something wonderful for your body, and you are likely to see good results. While a short workout may not seem like much on its own, even a little bit adds up over time.
- Why a 15-Minute Workout Is Better Than Nothing
- Sweat 15 Minutes a Day and Add Three Years to Your Life, Study Says
- Short Bursts of Exercise Are Better Than Exercising Nonstop
About the Author: CHRISTIAN HEFTEL