Are 5-Minute Workouts Any Good?

If you’re running out of time to exercise today, you should probably just skip it, right? Wrong! You can reap the benefits of working out with sweat sessions as short as five minutes.

You read that correctly: five minutes.

Still skeptical? Keep reading to learn more about how micro-workouts can boost your health and strengthen your body.

Do 5-minute workouts help?

It’s possible you’ve never considered working out for only five minutes. It doesn’t sound like enough time to make a difference.

After all, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion says that aerobic activity lasting longer than 10 minutes in duration counts toward the 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise you should aim to get each week. 1 2

But that doesn’t mean shorter, high-intensity exercises can’t help.

Benefits of regular exercise include everything from losing weight to getting better sleep to increasing energy levels. Keeping fit can also help tremendously with your self-confidence. So, shouldn’t anything count toward this goal? Well, researchers are discovering that even exercise sessions as sort as a minute may help you keep fit and active.

What the science says

A study from the University of Utah shows that all those little bits and pieces of exercise you do throughout the day can add up to something big. In fact, even a single “brisk” minute of moving can have a noticeable impact. 3

Women who incorporated short bursts of high-intensity activities into everyday life had a small decrease in their body mass index (BMI), compared to control subjects. Men had similar results. The calorie burn during this short but intense session of exercise allowed the women to weigh about 1/2 pound less than their nonactive counterparts. Odds of obesity also went down for both men and women who did these quickie workouts. The key is kicking up the intensity level of whatever you’re doing, versus focusing solely on the length of time.

Another study published in Obesity (yes, that’s the name of a research journal) revealed that splitting exercise up into short chunks makes some sense when it comes to appetite control.

One set of obese participants did one hour of exercise each day while another set did 12 sessions of five-minute workouts. In the end, both groups had similar amounts of the protein that controls appetite in their blood. 4

The group that did the short workouts, though, said they felt an average of 32 percent fuller throughout the daytime hours. In other words, their satiety had increased by doing intermittent workouts of just five minutes in length.

You also may have heard of something called Tabata training. A Tabata workout is actually a four-minute high-intensity interval training workout that is made up of 20 seconds of hard effort and 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times.

The name comes from Izumi Tabata, the author of a 1996 study on interval training. The results of this study showed that short interval sessions greatly improved the body’s anaerobic and aerobic systems.

Fitting exercise into your routine

This all sounds good, but you may feel like finding even five minutes to exercise is impossible with your busy schedule. Or maybe when you finally do get some down time, you just want to rest. Nobody says staying fit is easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible either.

Keep it consistent for the best results. After a while, you may tweak your routine just enough that more movement naturally fits into your day.

Short workouts to try

You don’t need a gym membership to work up a sweat, either. In fact, the logistics of getting to the gym, getting changed, and finally working out may kill time and your motivation. When you feel inspired to move, try searching for quickie workouts that you can find for free on YouTube.

Try the PHMP’s 10 Best Everyday Exercises

We have a two-part mini-series with 10 easy-to-do exercises you can fit into your every day!

The PHMP’s Exercise Starter Guide

Another mini-series, the Exercise Starter Guide, has a day-to-day calendar to simple exercises that’ll get you going.

The Awesome Power of Power Walking



Power walking is an underrated and underappreciated exercise. Simply put: it’s freakin’ awesome. Check out our article on Power Walking: A Life-Changing Exercise Technique and learn more about it.

Not near a computer? Set your watch or phone for a five-minute alarm and try doing as many bodyweight exercises as you can fit in. You can do pushups, situps, planks, squats, jumps, lunges, jogging in place, or whatever else. Just stick to it and try to get to the highest intensity level possible. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water when you’re done!

TL;DR

Long story short: yes, 5-minute workouts are good. Just five minutes of exercise at a time may be beneficial to your health in many ways.

If you’re still not sure it’s enough, try doing one of the workouts in the section above. When you finally catch your breath, ask yourself again if five minutes can get your heart pumping.

When it comes down to it, doing something is usually better than doing nothing—so get moving!

939 Comments
  • Sherrelle Hogan
    Posted at 15:17h, 25 October

    Thanks

  • Pamela Calhoun
    Posted at 11:01h, 25 October

    Good read!

  • Aneta
    Posted at 10:16h, 24 October

    Thanks

  • Georgia Hardy
    Posted at 07:20h, 23 October

    Thanks for the useful information..

  • Patricia Montgomery
    Posted at 18:07h, 21 October

    Thx

  • Randa wallman
    Posted at 18:01h, 21 October

    Thx

  • Hope Griffin
    Posted at 15:42h, 21 October

    Thank you

  • Hope Griffin
    Posted at 15:42h, 21 October

    Thank you

  • juan duque
    Posted at 04:55h, 21 October

    great info

  • Joanna Payne
    Posted at 20:53h, 20 October

    Great info!

  • Linda Harris
    Posted at 18:26h, 20 October

    Great

  • Kathy Schrodt
    Posted at 16:58h, 20 October

    thanks

  • Michelle Plueger
    Posted at 15:35h, 20 October

    Thank you

  • Debbie Jesselson
    Posted at 09:32h, 20 October

    Thank you.

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