The rise of the mini workout and is it effective?

If you stop 100 people on the street and ask if they think they’re busy, overwhelmed, or overscheduled, chances are, most of them will tell you “yes.”

Balancing work and social obligations, taking care of household responsibilities and trying to find enough time to get a good night’s sleep, people are more stressed than ever. That’s why it’s no surprise that mini workouts are on the rise.

Mini workouts are becoming a favorite for everyone from time-stretched professionals to busy working parents But what, exactly, is a mini workout? What are the benefits? And how can you make sure you’re maximizing the impact of your workouts—no matter how short they are?

What is a mini workout?

A mini workout, as the name suggests, is a miniature version of a workout session. While “standard” exercise sessions usually last between 45 minutes and an hour, a mini workout is much shorter – think 10 or 15 minutes.

Mini workouts have become increasingly popular with people who want to stay fit and healthy, but don’t have the time to commit to working out for an hour at a time.

What are the benefits of mini workouts?

Arguably the biggest advantage of mini workouts is that they can fit in any Scheduling Instead of trying to carve out a big chunk of your daily calendar to spend at the gym, you can instead identify quick breaks in your schedule—and power through a workout between meetings or picking up your kids from school.

Mini workouts are not only more schedule-friendly, but powering through a mini workout can have a huge impact on your motivation. “[When people complete mini workouts], they feel accomplished and they begin to realize that they can fit fitness into their lives,” says certified personal trainer Stephanie Thomas. That sense of accomplishment can then motivate them to continue their fitness journey.

Mini workouts can be a great way to combat a sedentary lifestyle—without requiring a ton of effort. “If you sit most of the day, a mini workout every few hours is a great way to add movement to your day,” says Alina Kennedy, strength and conditioning expert and owner of Bloom Fitness NYC.

Another benefit of mini workouts? They can also help your mood, as short bursts of exercise “provide small endorphin surges throughout the day,” says Thomas.

Plus, when you work out for just 10 to 15 minutes at a time, you can fit in more mini workouts throughout the day—which can often be more active minutes per day than if you were to dedicate an hour to the gym. “Doing mini-workouts throughout the day accumulates a lot of exercise…[often] If you just do big workouts, you’ll have more,” says Kennedy.

How to make the most of your mini-workouts

Want to squeeze the most out of every workout—even when you’re short (or very short!) on time? Here’s how to get the most out of each mini workout:

Choose the right exercise. The whole point of a mini workout is that it’s supposed to be quick and convenient – so make sure you choose exercises that reflect that. The best exercises, Kennedy says, are “things you know you can do anywhere, with no equipment.”

In addition to cardio (such as a brisk jog), “things like bodyweight squats, lunges, planks, jumping jacks, and stretches are perfect for a mini workout.”

Focus on form. To see results, you need correct form. So instead of trying to cram as much exercise as possible into your mini workout, try focusing on the doing less exercise with good “Exercises are all about quality, not quantity,” says Form Thomas.

Use AZM to hit your target. The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week—but it can be hard to know when you’re logging those minutes during your mini workout.

Fitbit automatically creates three personalized Active Zones based on your age and resting heart rate—then tallies your Active Zone Minutes (AZM) based on how much time you spend in each zone. A variety of mini workouts will help you rack up points in different areas; For example, 10 minutes of yoga will likely put you in the fat burning zone, a jog will put you in the cardio zone, while a HIIT workout will accumulate at least a few minutes in the peak zone.

At the end of the week, you can see how many AZMs you’ve accumulated—and make sure it’s in line with the AHA’s recommendations.

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