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Does 15 minutes of exercise make a difference?

Many people dread their workout routine for a simple reason. They plan on spending an hour or more at the gym, and this can be overwhelming. Adherence is key to a lasting fitness routine, and 15 minutes can prove incredibly beneficial if it means you’ll stick with it over time. Aside from a consistency standpoint, there are some exciting benefits of the 15-minute workout that may surprise you.

For Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Endurance

  1. High intensity interval training is just as effective as longer, steady-state cardio. This type of cardio involves periods of work atfull intensity with a short rest period, and the studies speak for themselves. Just one example of thousands involved two groups, one of which performed intervals of 20-second sprints to two-minute recovery periods at a slower pace for a total of ten minutes. When compared with another group that performed 45 minutes of steady-state, low intensity pacing, both experienced a 20 percent boost in endurance. 
  2. When you truly push yourself during HIIT training, you burn more calories than with longer, steady-state workouts. Yet another study revealed that men who performed just 13 minutes of HIIT torched more calories than their counterparts who spent 40 minutes doing steady-state exercises.
  3. It doesn’t have to be intense. Even if you perform lower-intensity exercise for 15 minutes daily with consistency, you can live longer as was revealed in a study by the European Society of Cardiology. They monitored a group for over a decade and found that low-intensity exercise like a brisk walk for just 15 minutes daily decreased risk of death by 22%, thus giving credence to the old adage that slow and steady wins the race. 

For Muscle Gain Improved Strength

What about strength training? While the cardio-focused tips we’ve discussed thus far are excellent when it comes to living longer, feeling better, and losing weight, many have goals of building muscle, getting stronger, and even gaining weight. Remember, muscle burns three times the calories as fat, making strength training a critical part of a balanced exercise diet. To make the most of 15 minutes in the gym for strength training, there are a few good tips to keep in mind. 


  1. Perform compound exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time. For example, you could do a squat with an overhead press or a bicep curl followed by a chest press. This method not only builds strength in a shorter amount of time, but it also helps improve endurance. 
  2. While longer strength training sessions justify more days off, shorter weight workouts are most effective when performed four to five days per week. However, let your body be the judge. If you wake up sore, let your muscles rest and recover as this is when muscle is built. A good way to circumvent excessive time off for recovery is to plan out different areas of the body you’ll work throughout the week. For example, you might choose a series of bicep and quadricep exercises on Monday, triceps and calves on Wednesday, and shoulders and back on Friday. 
  3. Think lower reps, higher weight. Not only does this formula facilitate hypertrophy, but it saves time. A certified personal trainer can help you map out the best combination of variables when it comes to reps, sets, and tempo based on your time constraints and goals. 


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