Get the MOST out of SHORT exercise (10 minutes or less?)

I thrive on super sweaty SoulCycle classes—and walking miles each day.

But I realize not everyone is like this, due to any number of reasons.

And since exercise is so vitally important to our health…

Research is looking into the effects of SHORT BURSTS of activity.

Can 10 minutes or less really help improve your health and fitness?

Let’s take a look…

Push yourself

Studies are finding that short workouts—10 minutes or less—can improve your physical and mental health.

The key? Making those minutes really count.

And high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one way to do just that.

Researchers analyzed the effect of just 10 minutes of cycling where you repeatedly push yourself as hard as you can for just 4 seconds—and then rest for 15 to 30 seconds.

Ultimately, they found this type of training BOOSTS fitness and muscle mass in younger and older adults.

Other studies have revealed that “exercise snacks“—defined as less than one minute of vigorous exercise performed periodically throughout the day—can also help improve cardiometabolic health. For instance, climbing three flights of stairs three times, every one to four hours.

(Cardiometabolic health consists of any condition that may affect your heart and metabolism.)

And in a recent study, researchers found simply running for 10 minutes improved mood and executive cognitive function (attention, planning, working memory).

Why short bursts can be so beneficial

It may seem counterintuitive to focus on such short intervals of exercise. Especially when 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week is routinely recommended.

But here’s why “just 10 minutes” can also so beneficial…

These sessions temporarily deprive your muscles of the fuel and oxygen needed for energy. This ‘trains’ your heart to get stronger (it pumps more with each beat). And your muscle cells develop more mitochondria.

(Mitochondria are like tiny powerplants inside your cells. They’re responsible for churning out a chemical called adenosine tri-phosphate, or ATP. And ATP fuels your energy levels.)

Plus, blow flow to the brain increases. As a result, feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine are regulated… and over time, even new brain cells have the ability to be generated.

The same benefits occur after longer workouts.

So, if you’re feeling low, stressed, or stuck on a tough mental problem… take a 10-minute break to move your body. (You can even add other brain-boosting elements like rhythmic music and dance. Or taking a walk with a friend or pet!)

At the end of the day, any movement is better than none. Why not start mixing it up with creative, short bursts throughout your day?

Until next time,
Dr. Fred

P.S. When it comes to daily exercise, I outline a simple recipe for success that incorporates different lengths of activity. Plus, I invite you to indulge in my very own physical activity “cocktail.” Learn more in the February 2022 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives. Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one!

“How Short Can a ‘Short Workout’ Really Be?” WebMD Health News, 04/04/2022. (