In today’s fast-paced world, finding time for exercise can be challenging. It isn’t easy to fit full training sessions between work, family responsibilities, and other commitments. The result? We end up neglecting our health and fitness goals. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were workouts that would be effective and could replace longer training sessions? The good news is they exist.
The solution to this problem is micro workouts, a type of workout built to maximize activity time and achieve goals for people with busy schedules. But what are exactly micro workouts? And do they work? This article will explore this concept and clarify all your doubts.
What are micro workouts?
As the name implies, micro workouts are short, intense bursts of exercise designed to be done anywhere, at any time, and in a limited space. You should perform it throughout the day, in small increments, and a typical session usually lasts between 5 to 10 minutes.
A single micro workout is not a replacement for a traditional training session per se. For example, you can use one or several micro-workout sessions as a supplement to a regular training session. The way these workouts can act as a replacement for a normal training session is by performing several micro workouts throughout the day, like an active break from your duties. That way, these several microbursts of energy during the day will end up being as effective as a regular training session.
Benefits of micro workouts
1 – Improves cardiovascular health
If your heart rate doesn’t hit the roof, then you’re doing it wrong. Micro workouts need to be super intense to be effective. That will cause your heart rate to go up and improve your cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory condition.
2 – Increases metabolism
Research shows that you can boost your metabolism with just 4 minutes of exercise. Since these workouts are intense and take around 10 minutes to perform, it’s safe to say that you’ll be increasing your metabolism.
3 – Reduces the risk of chronic diseases
It’s a well-known fact, but it never hurts to remember: any physical activity helps you improve your overall health and quality of life. It also reduces your risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and dementia.
4 – Saves time
By now, you’re thinking about how you could fit in 3 workouts on your day. Don’t forget they take you 10 minutes only. 30 minutes total, but divided throughout the day, at home and with little to no equipment, you’ll be saving time — even if it’s only the time it takes you to get to the gym.
How are they different from HIIT workouts?
By now, you’re probably wondering what differentiates micro workouts from HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), for example. After all, HIITs also involve short bursts of intense exercise. However, unlike micro workouts, they typically last between 20 to 30 minutes. Micro workouts are shorter and can also be a more accessible and manageable way to incorporate physical activity into our daily lives, especially for those short on time.
Do they work?
Like any form of physical activity, the effectiveness of micro workouts depends on various factors such as frequency, intensity, and duration. If done regularly, it should be as effective as regular workouts.
Example of a micro workout
Here’s a micro workout that only requires a pair of dumbbells and some space to perform.
- 2 exercises
- 10 to 15 reps
- As many rounds as possible for 10 minutes
1) Dumbbell lunge
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Arms should remain straight and gently squeezed by the sides. Keep the shoulder set and the core engaged.
- Take a step forward and bend down towards the floor. Aim for both knees to bend to 90 degrees comfortably or at an appropriate point.
- Keep the dumbbells secure by your sides and the core engaged as you return to standing.
- Repeat on the other leg and alternate continuously.
2) Dumbbell alternate shoulder press
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding two dumbbells.
- Clean the dumbbells to the front rack position. Set the shoulders and engage the core.
- While maintaining an upright posture, press one dumbbell overhead.
- Keep the other one tightly in the front rack position.
- Return and switch sides.