Too Busy For Long Exercise Routines? Try Micro Workouts

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Jun. 12 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Time has a way of getting away from us: work deadlines, family commitments, and unexpected events can make it difficult to maintain healthy self-care habits consistently. It can be especially challenging to find time for the recommended 150 minutes of moderate weekly exercise we should be getting. 

There’s no need to despair though. Research studies reveal that short, intense workouts improve cardiorespiratory fitness and other health factors without a significant time investment or complex equipment. These micro workouts are an effective alternative, offering health benefits in smaller, more manageable doses.

For busy professionals, finding 10 to 15 minutes to work out each day can be a more sustainable option compared to longer workouts. Read on to learn more about the benefits and how you can get started with micro workouts.

What Are Micro Workouts?

Also known as exercise snacks, micro workouts are brief periods of physical activity spread out throughout the day. The time commitment is minimal: you should aim for at least 15 minutes a day but can break up the time however you like. What’s most important is that you are moving and increasing your heart rate.

Micro workouts, as the name implies, are short. Depending on the activity, you can spend anywhere between twenty to sixty seconds or three to seven minutes per workout period. What’s great about this is that it’s easy to find one to three minutes several times a day to exercise, especially since micro workouts don’t require much space or equipment. It’s definitely a lot easier than finding a thirty to forty-five-minute block of time for a more traditional workout.

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Benefits Of Micro Workouts

Despite being short, micro workouts provide health benefits that are comparable to the benefits of longer, more traditional workouts.

Studies of intense workouts, such as stair climbing, have been shown to increase VO2 intake, which is an indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness. The higher your VO2, the healthier your heart and lungs and the better your endurance. Additional studies reveal that micro workouts greatly reduce your risk of dying from any cause, heart disease, and cancer. They also lower your chances of developing major heart problems and getting cancer.

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Incorporating movement into your day is also beneficial to improving muscular strength and flexibility and reducing the negative effects of sitting for long periods, such as higher blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels and an increased risk of obesity. 

Taking the health benefits and time commitment into consideration, micro workouts provide a great deal for minimal investment. But all the studies agree: to reap the benefits, you must be consistent. That means starting off right.

How To Get Started

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If you’re looking to increase your daily movement and improve your overall health with micro workouts, the key is to start slowly and integrate different exercises into your daily routine. In this way, you are more likely to remember to work out and develop healthy exercise habits.

Good micro workout exercises that you can easily do anywhere include stair climbs, push-ups, planks, lunges, squats, jumping jacks, and jogging in place. You want to focus on exercises that will elevate your heart rate and don’t require too much space.

For workout inspiration and to vary your exercises, especially after you’ve gotten into a good routine, consider following Dani Muñoz, Catherine Elizabeth Wiggins, Jeanette Jenkins, or Elizabeth Uucheoma on Instagram. They are all fitness trainers or coaches and you can find videos of short, intense workouts on their pages. These workouts are designed to be easy to incorporate into your day. Some workouts do require minimal equipment, such as a resistance band or dumbbells, but you can adapt the workouts or choose to do those at home instead of the office.

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Marta Kargol
By: Marta Kargol

Marta Kargol is a former educator turned freelance copywriter who brings a unique blend of storytelling and clarity to her writing. She believes effective communication shapes ideas and focuses her efforts on finding creative ways to simplify complex topics. Marta uses her writing skills to help small businesses and solopreneurs share their purpose with authenticity. She is passionate about education, self-improvement, work-life balance, and wellness, all aspects of a holistic approach to success in life. When she isn’t writing, Marta enjoys traveling the world to experience new cultures. Learn more at or reach out directly at

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