Things that take 15 minutes: cooling down after a hot yoga class, deciding what the eff to order for takeout, and debating the caption for your latest Instagram. Here’s another to add to that list: a workout that will actually help transform your body.
Yep, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go slog it out at the gym for 30 or 45 minutes. (Or god forbid, an hour.) Working out for just 15 minutes—yes, 15!—comes with a slew of health benefits, from upping your calorie burn and whipping your body into shape, to lowering your risk of certain diseases and even adding years on to your life.
Yeah, these quickie sweat seshes are no joke. Count these among your reasons to start carving out 15 minutes of your day:
1. GET RESULTS FASTER
You’ve heard about HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. There’s a reason no one shuts up about it: It really works. Most recently, researchers found that a 10-minute workout, with just one minute at high-intensity, had the same benefits as 45 minutes of jogging.
ne group of study participants did a two-minute warm-up on a stationary bike, followed by a 20-second sprint, then rode slowly for two minutes. They repeated that sequence two more times for a total of 10 minutes. The other group just rode steadily on the bike for 45 minutes. After 12 weeks, both groups showed a 20 percent increase in cardiovascular endurance.
2. BURN MORE CALORIES
HIIT workouts, which usually lasts just four to 15 minutes, can also give you more bang for your buck in terms of calorie burn. In apublished in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, men who did 13 minutes of HIIT burned more calories per minute and increased their VO2 max by 12.5 percent more than men who did steady-state cardio for 40 minutes. More payoff in half the time? Yes, please.
3. LIVE LONGER
Just 15 minutes of exercise per day could actually increase your lifespan.from the European Society of Cardiology evaluated study participants over a 12-year period, and found that those who exercised at a low level (or the equivalent of a 15-minute brisk walk) were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who didn’t exercise at all. And participants who exercised at medium and high levels reduced their risk of death by 28 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
. MANAGE WEIGHT
The calorie-burning benefits of even the shortest strength-training bout keep coming long after you’ve left the gym. In a study from Southern Illinois University, researchers found that when volunteers did just one set of nine exercises, or about 11 minutes of strength training, three days a week, they increased their resting metabolic rate (the calories burned when just hanging out) and fat burning enough to keep unwanted weight at bay.
5. STAY YOUNG
HIIT can actually have a profound effect on aging at the cellular level. The older you get, the less efficient your energy-producing mitochondria become. But when researchers analyzed three groups of exercisers over 12 weeks—one that did high-intensity aerobic interval training, one that did resistance training, and one that did a combination of the two—they found that those who did HIIT actually reversed that age-related degeneration. Translation: Their mitochondria actually worked like those of much younger people.