Don't have time to work? Micro workouts can help change that.
One hour appliesIt may feel impossible to fit into your busy day, but proponents of micro-workouts say they offer a way to get exercise in accessible chunks.
Micro-workouts are “a relatively small commitment of time and intensity for a relatively large payoff,” explains Walter Gjerja, former professional athlete and co-founder and chief wellness officer of Zing Coach's fitness app.
What are micro-exercises?
Mini workouts or exercise “snack,” Micro-workouts involve short bursts of movement performed multiple times a day to add up to a larger overall workout.
“Simply, we want to be 15 minutes or longer in total, and spread those 15 minutes throughout the day,” says Kjerja. “There's substantial research showing that these types of short but high-intensity bursts have profound effects on our physiology, our health, all sorts of fitness markers.”
Kjerja says micro-workouts can be divided into two categories: 20- to 60-second workouts or shorter sessions, about 3 to 7 minutes.
“They need to be longer than 20 seconds or the performance will be very low, but they're a short burst of relatively intense movement and intense exercise,” he explains. For example, this might look like running up the stairs for 20 seconds or running in place for a minute.
If you're aiming for a micro-workout, she doesn't advise going longer than 10 minutes, as that time “involves a more sustained effort,” she explains.
Micro workout benefits
The first — and most obvious — of the micro-workouts is fitting some movement into your day.
Even with only 3 to 7 minutes to spare, he says, you can take a “mini tour of the three main areas of fitness,” which are cardiovascular, muscular and flexibility.
For example, you can structure your micro-workout into two minutes of push-ups, squats or sit-ups for strength, two minutes of cardio exercises like jumping jacks, and two minutes of stretching for mobility.
“You get all the important aspects of fitness and wellness instantly in a very short period of time,” he says.
Research has also pointed to its benefitsIntense activity throughout today.
A Observational study Published last year in JAMA Oncology, four to five minutes a day of “vigorous non-stop lifestyle physical activity — such as brisk walking or stair climbing for one to two minutes — is associated with compared to those who did not perform such an activity. A quick stroll – 5 minutes every half hour – can go a long way to your health throughout the day.
Other benefits of micro-workouts are that they can be done practically anywhere, as they don't require equipment or a lot of space, and they can help you build for the long haul..
“It's usually more effective to start with a small commitment than to jump full-on into a (big) activity (or) a gym membership,” Gjergja explains. “The moment you're comfortable with (it) being a manageable few minutes in your home or office space, suddenly it's very easy to form that habit.”
Tips for starting micro-workouts
Incorporate into daily life:
Whether sitting at your desk, doing chores, or watching TV (hello,!), movement can be sprinkled into your regular routine.
For example, if you take a minute out of every hour of your workday to do push-ups or sit-ups, you can easily hit hundreds of reps by the end of your shift.
“It's a substantial muscle workout, especially for someone who doesn't train regularly,” says Zijerja. “You did it without any commitment.”
During the latest appearanceTo discuss heart health, CBS News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. John LaBook talks about a way to “hack” your day.
“If you're going to work, how about traveling 10 blocks before work? If you're taking the elevator to the 22nd floor, take the elevator down seven floors and walk,” he suggested. “Make sure you don't say, 'Okay, now I have to exercise'—exercise is part of how you live your life.”
Set up your workout “menu”:
Gjergja recommends preparing a “menu of exercises” that you can do safely, environmentally, and in the clothes you're wearing.
“Don't improvise,” he says. “Test if you can do this exercise and it's physiologically comfortable for you.”
If you want to increase the intensity of the micro-workouts, you can try harder movements like burpees or attach a pair of dumbbells or elastic exercise bands.