Health Benefits of a 10-Minute Workout Last for 1 Hour

By , SparkPeople Blogger
SparkPeople has advocated short bursts of fitness for the past 10 years because we've seen how it can change people's lives and help them reach countless goals. Recent research has been proving our hunch that those 10 minutes of exercise really do make an impact. Despite what naysayers might claim—that 10 minutes isn't enough to help people lose weight or get fitter—a new study shows that these short workouts have long lasting benefits. In fact, the more fit you are, the more benefits you might be getting from a short workout, according to the authors of the study.

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard measured how treadmill exercise created biochemical changes in the blood of a three groups: the healthy middle-aged, people who became short of breath with exertion, and marathon runners. Their results, published recently in the journal Science Translational Medicine, showed that exercise affected more than 20 metabolites, which are naturally occurring compounds in the body that serve a variety of functions.

In response to exercise, metabolites that burn calories and fat and improve blood sugar control increased while others involved in cellular stress went down. Even more interesting, says researcher Dr. Robert Gerszten, is that these positive changes that began after 10 minutes of exercise were still measurable 60 minutes after participants cooled down—evidence that even small amounts of exercise can build up long-term benefits.

Here are a few other things researchers noted in response to exercise:
  • Thinner people had greater increases in niacinamide, a metabolite involved in blood sugar control.
  • Fitter people had greater numbers of a metabolite involved in fat breakdown than people who were less fit. And extremely fit participants (25 Boston Marathon runners) had 10 times that metabolite after their race was over.
Although we know exercise makes people fit and healthy, we don't always know exactly what specific changes occur that provide these benefits. Research in this new field of metabolomics is helping to give us clearer picture of how our bodies respond in the moment to exercise and what really happens inside the body of a fit person.

One thing from this study is clear: Yes, 10 minutes of exercise does make a difference! Its metabolic effects last long after your session is over. So next time you think 10 minutes won't matter in the grand scheme of things, remember that its benefits linger long after you leave the gym.

Need some 10-minute workout ideas? Try these!Do you believe 10-minute workouts have really make an impact? Have they worked for you?

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I am not sure yet I actually feel a difference after such a short workout, but I do know it helps me get into the habit of exercising, and this is already a lot! Report
For sure, I agree that ten minutes DOES make a difference. It works for me.

Thanks for this positive article and 10-min exercise links. Report
I hadn't considered this. 10 minutes seems like nothing in the grand scheme of a day. I'm going across to Sparkpeople video to find something. Thanks for the motivation! Report
Sometimes 10 or 20 minutes is all I have time for. If I pop in Jillian's 30 Day Shred, I get a great workout for 20 minutes! I'd like to work out longer, but if that doesn't happen at least I did something to break a sweat. It all adds up. Report
For sure, I agree that ten minutes DOES make a difference. Especially if you do ten minutes every couple of hours. :) Report
that's uber cool! i mean, some days i just have the hardest time getting things done, but i gotta remember at least 10 minutes, because then it may lead to more anyway. i've got tons of 10 minute resources, i just need to remember to do them. thanks for the great reminder, because often i can do more than that and enjoy it--you just gotta get there, though! Report
I absolutely believe!!! Something else I've been doing is bathroom push-ups - what??? Really, try this - you'll notice a difference in just a few weeks, and you'll be able to feel it the first day. Every time you you use the restroom, position your feet back from the sink, then lean forward with your hands on the edge and proceed to knock out 10, 20, 50 push-ups. By the end of the day....well, you do the math. I find if I add these little things to my daily routine it really adds up! Report
I live in the caribbean and right now it's the rainy season which means that most days I can't get out to walk so I need to exercise indoors. I'm hoping that this works for me, sometimes the internet breaks down. I need to try something other than walking. Report
I need to take 10 min for myself Report
I started today. Planned on a 10 minute walk but ended up gone for 1/2 hour. Off to a good start hope I can keep it up. Feel free to nudge me along. Report
10 minutes!!!!!
WOW I will try it but we will see..
Fitting 10 minutes in is so much easier. Thank you for such a great article and information. Report
Its good to know 10 minutes works cause its all I can physically do, at least for now!!! Thanks Report
WOW this was something I needed to hear as sometimes I can only put together a 10 minute little spurt of exercises here and there in a day. I've felt it has helped - but thought only long continuous workouts were truly beneficial. Now I will be more likely to continue to put in those little 10 min. jazzercises that I do at work and know I'm actually doing myself some good! Report
This is very interesting :) Report
Great!!!Thanks for sharing!!! Report
I know the 10 minute spirts make me feel better, and I am more fit than I was before doing them. I'm a believer. Report
I try to encourage people around me to exercise. I'm going to start preaching that they can find 10 minutes. Report
Man, this was the perfect thing for me to read today. I've been really busy lately and have been stressing that the amount of exercise I'm going to be able to weasel in the next couple weeks wouldn't be enough. Report
This is good news particularly for when I'm travelling alot and cannot fit in my usual exercise regime. Report
I find that I tell myself I only have to do 10 minutes, and once I hit that I think, well I can go another thing I know it has been 30 minutes or so. Knowing that I can stop at anytime b/c I've already hit my goal makes me want to power on and do more. Report
Telling myself I only need to work out for 10 minutes will get me out of bed. After 10 minutes though, I usually keep going. Report
In reading a few comments by members I note that many of us with health issues or disabilities can only exercise for 10 min. at a time. I'm curious as to the specific health benefits for those of us who are less than fit as compared to a marathon runner.... Are the benefits still there? I like being able to do a 10 min. workout if I am stressed for time. I either do a SP 10 min. workout or a Leslie Samsone 10 min. 1 mile walk every single day. When I am able, I do workout longer, but the 10 min. help on those days that I am maxed out with my schedule! Report
I agree with Kayali. My goal is 10 mins. but I often end up exercising longer. This way, if I only do 10 minutes, I don't feel guilty. If I aim for an hour and can't make it, I feel bad. Better to have two, three or four shorter workouts than get frustrated and quit. Report
A good way to get myself started-only 10 minutes...end up doing more. Report
I don't do a lot of 10 minute spurts, but I find that I can push harder in several 30 minute workouts throughout the day than I can in one 1 hour workout. If I do a 3 or 4 mile walk, I find myself tiring towards the end and slowing down, thus not getting the full cardio benefit. But if I take two 2 mile walks, I can keep up my speed and get the cardio benefit. Don't know how it all works out in calories burned, but. . . I would think the same would hold true for several 10 minute workouts.

I did do 10 minute workouts last summer for awhile when I was having severe heel pain. I found I could tolerate several 10 minute workouts better than one long one.

I also think 10 minute workouts might be a great way for a beginner to start with baby steps. I started walking with 20 minutes 3 times per week, because it didn't look overwhelming. Now, after a year, I am up to 40 - 75 minutes 4 -6 times per week.

I definitely think the 10 minute workout has a place. Report
I am not able to do anything strenuous since my operation. Being the all or nothing personality that I have been in the past, I chose not to exercise at all because 30 minutes seemed to much to fit into my already over booked day. But I agree that even a 10 minute work out, of less than intense for me, would be acceptable if not beneficial. Report
Coach Nicole I LOVE your 10 minutes SP dvds! I've got both and I use them regularly thrown into my fitness mix for the week. Everyone who feels strapped for time can do 10 minutes of fitness you just need to get creative and DO IT. I love reviewing the videos and exercises offered here on SparkPeople and tell others about this site all the time now. I know on days when I feel like I just don't seem to be able to find the time, I pop in a dvd or just start doing some the strength exercises and voila the time flies and I've got my fitness in! Report
10 minute workouts are 10 minutes not eating. What can be wrong with that? Report
Being mobility challenged...10 minutes is often longer than I can handle. But all those 10 minute spurts add up throughout the the wall push-ups every time I go to the bathroom, trips down & up the stairs to walk out to get the mail, marching in place as a sit at my all helps!!! Report
Definitely works. Every 10 minutes count toward good health & spakpoints, lol! Report
I'm a firm believer that, in all aspects of life, every little helps. I'd like to think that the benefits of 10 minutes exercise last a lifetime ... not just one hour! Report
Oh, I definitely believe that ten minute workouts can make a difference in a person's health. Every little bit does add up. Report
I'm a great believer in even 10 minutes at a time. In fact, I believe that all movement helps, in at least a small way.
The 10 minutes at a time is relatively easy to work into your daily routines, and probably easier to find several 10 minute slots than 1 session of 30 minutes or more.
I'm even managing to get some gardening done by setting my timer for 5 minutes! As well as my 10 minute bootcamps. Report
It's hard for me to believe that a 10-minute workout can make a difference, but now I see that the evidence is in and incontrovertible. I guess anything that does not show me immediate evidence of a difference is hard for me to believe. However, this study does show immediate and even long-standing evidence albeit on a microscopic level... okay, I'm convinced! I will start my Nordic Track again this week. Report
I've recently started doing some 10 min. workouts, especially core exercises. Amazing what I can get done in just 10 min. Report
For beginners, 10 minutes eases you in. I started with 10 minutes and now I'm doing 30-40 minutes easily!! Report
I'll definitely have to try this.Thanks. Report
I've started out by doing the SparkPeople 10 minute workouts on the DVD. Ten minutes is a short time that didn't overwhelm me just thinking about it! Since then, I do more than one of the 10 minute workouts at a time. They are great! Very manageable! Report
The 10 minute videos are awesome! There is something there for everybody. Who needs Jillian Michaels? ;) Report
I've been doing 10 minute exercise sessions for a couple of years now, mainly because I have difficulty doing longer sessions due to chronic pain from arthritis. I started because I figured 10 minutes of exercise is better than nothing, and it works. I do 2-3 10 minute sessions most days of the week. Exercising this way I lost 40+ pounds and have maintained it for more than 2 years. Report
The 10 minute challenge has spurred me on to do more. Thanks for the push! Report
Thank goodness! SparkPeople helped me see I don't need an hour! Every little bit helps. Report
Nicole Nichols is Awesome. Thanks so much for the report and especially the links. Great. Report
Starting today I am going to try the 10 minute workouts. Sometimes a long workout is to daunting but 10 minutes is a no brainer! Report
Have not been a 10 min. work out but am going to start Report
I was a skeptical mix with curiosity to try 10-min workout.First few months,I just able to do cardio on average once a week,which dampened my spirit.Then,I push myself to do more,told myself it just a short workout,not going to dent my life.Now,I already have 5 weeks of 3-day weekly cardio,spend at least 10-min each and I'm so proud of myself.It's just a small achievement but small steps can lead to biggest leap to my major success! Report
10 minutes is better than no minutes. Report
I loveeeeeeeeeeeee 10 min wrkout....


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