Would You Believe 10 Minutes?
Imagine if exercising 10 minutes a day were enough to improve your health, cheer you up, and help you maintain a steady weight. Well, it is, even though most experts stubbornly insist that you need 30 to 60 minutes daily to see results. The case for shorter sessions has been building for some time, but earlier this year results from a watershed study made the point loud and clear.
Researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, reported findings from a study involving 464 women who weren't exercisers. After six months, a group who walked an average of 72 minutes a week at two to three mph—that's about 10 minutes of mall-pace striding a day—had significantly improved heart strength and general fitness, nearly matching the efforts of women exercising almost twice as long. "Your body responds very positively, very quickly to even small amounts of exercise," says lead study author Tim Church, MD, PhD. "If you're sedentary, you'll see a lot of your greatest gains going from zero to 10 minutes a day."
More exercise is definitely better, but based on Church's findings and the studies below, there's evidence you can take your time easing into those longer workouts.