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On Exercise: Start Small and Get Big Results

Learn how just 10 minutes of exercise per day can have huge health benefits.

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One of the most common reasons people cite to explain their avoidance of a regular exercise program is not having enough time. In 20 years of teaching people to exercise I have found this objection to be the hardest to overcome. Life is very complicated and busy for most people these days and, even though I know they can find 30 to 40 minutes each day to work out, the idea of planning one more thing is often just too overwhelming for them to consider. Layered in this reasoning is the unspoken concern that exercising for 30, 40 or 60 minutes will be too hard or will create too much pain in the days following the early workouts. Many fitness professionals have dealt with this challenge by creating shorter duration workouts. The question is – Do these 10-minute exercise programs actually work? Recent studies have shown that the answer is yes.

10-Minute Exercise Programs

In recent years, numerous studies have been performed to measure the benefit of abbreviated workout programs, and the results show that by exercising vigorously for even 10 minutes per day, individuals can reap significant benefits including the following:

  • Improved muscle strength and tone
  • Reduced weight
  • Increased energy
  • Improved immune strength
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Reduced risk of obesity and diabetes
  • Improved mood

One study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital discovered that levels of 20 different blood metabolites (naturally produced compounds) changed during exercise. Some increased, like those involved in calorie/fat burning and blood sugar control, and others went down (i.e. cellular stressors). In all cases, the changes noted were contributory to better health. Also noted was that these changes lasted for at least one hour after the exercise was finished.

Exercise: It’s The Least You Can Do

Ten minutes per day of exercise can make positive changes in your health. More good news is seen in the findings from these studies showing that fitter people got bigger benefits that lasted longer. As your fitness improves with this daily exercise habit, each exercise will create greater benefit and the healthier you will become. This is truly the exercise equivalent of having your cake and eating it too – you will have to devote a minimum of time, experience less post-exercise soreness and be able to ease yourself back into an active lifestyle gradually. And I am betting that, as you begin to see and feel real change in your body and vitality, you will begin to find time for those longer, more effective workouts. Of course, if you have never exercised before or have been away from it for a long time, how to create and begin an exercise program may be a daunting task.

How to Get Started

You need not join a gym or hire a personal trainer to guide you through an exercise program. In fact, you are probably better off just working out in your living room at first; you’ll save money and time. You can find out all you need to know to create a home 10-minute workout on the Internet. Below are a few links to good that showcase safe 10-minute workouts to get you started. They require little or no equipment or assistance to perform. If these don’t float your boat, by all means, dig deeper or purchase one of the very good ten minute programs available online.

Go for it!

The time is now. It has never been easier, safer or more convenient to put together a daily exercise program. You owe it to yourself, your kids and everyone around you to be a happier, healthier person, parent, neighbor and friend. The answer is just 10 minutes away., Exercise: A Program You Can Live With, Retrieved January 14, 2013, Harvard University 2001-2013., 10 Minute Workout for Weight Loss, Retrieved January 14, 2013,, 2010., Study: 10 minutes of exercise, hour-long effects, Lauran Neergaard, Retrieved January 14, 2013, AP 2010., Effects of Long versus Short Bout Exercise on Fitness and Weight Loss in Overweight Females, Schmidt, WD, et al, Retrieved January 14, 2013, J Am Coll Nutr, Oct2001;20(5): 494-501.

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