There are so many names for them! Exercise snacking, express workouts, mini workouts, micro workouts and so many more but do short workouts really work?? The answer…YES! This week we are going to take a look at why micro workouts are so beneficial? I get asked a lot about whether shorter workouts are as effective as an hour-long gym session. There are so many benefits to working out in short sharp chunks.
Let’s break this down. So many of us now work from home at our desks and are time poor – we simply haven’t got the time to be at the gym for an hour on a treadmill, never mind the commute there and back. So why do short workouts work? First of all we need to think about people’s focus. You’re much more likely to stay focused and concentrated in a shorter time period. It’s all about quality over quantity. If you can get up from your desk and do a quick 10 to 15 minutes of good quality exercise then you are more likely to focus more and with better concentration and be able to actually fit it into a busy schedule. Short workouts are also a great way to build activity into your day which will then, in turn, kick start a habit. So what starts out as just a five minute break from your desk can slowly become a longer term workout and a longer term exercise habit.
They are brilliant for motivation and getting started. What you need to remember though is that if you’re only spending 10/15/20 minutes on exercise, you need to make sure it’s something which gets the heart rate up and raises your metabolism. Bodyweight strength classes are brilliant for this. You don’t need any equipment. you can put together a basic circuit which is easily accessible at home. You could also spend five minutes just on mobility stretches at your desk, improving flexibility or perhaps you could focus on one muscle group at a time. For example, 10 minutes in the morning on the upper body and 10 minutes in the afternoon on legs. Or just a cardio burst with 5 HIIT exercises rotated. Here’s an example (take a look at my IG post here ):
- Jump squats
- Lunge jumps
- Mountain climbers
- Walk out into push up
- High knees
Shorter bursts really add up. They have so many health benefits such as improving your blood sugar and cardiovascular output. So, the bottom line is make sure it’s something vigorous and something you enjoy – you’re much more likely then to stick with it. Don’t forget that household chores and activities at home also can be great, such as dancing, gardening, carrying groceries, climbing the stairs, and housework. Maybe squats while the kettle is boiling, dips while running the bath, walking lunges in the garden.
Keeping it brief but at the same time keeping it regular and consistent. You may not get as much benefit from a five minute workout as you would a 30 minute workout in terms of strength and endurance, but in time it can really add up. Why not set yourself a challenge and see what you can achieve? 100 squats in your lunch break!
If we are looking at longer workouts of 30 minutes for the future this is what I suggest aiming for over time… 4x a week of strength training workouts alongside 2 of cardio – which can be just a brisk walk or a cycle. It is essential to take rest days to allow the body to refuel and recharge so make sure you factor these in. Strength training can be with or without weights & it’s key to build up gradually and focus on technique. It can be just 30 minutes so it’s easy to fit into your day!
Intrigued to know more about Caroline’s Circuits? I run 4 live online classes a week all based on strength on my fitness platform. They are all recorded so if you cannot make them live you can do them at a time that suits you. Find out more and try a class here or through my IG page @carolinescircuits.
If you have any questions please do get in touch.