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?