Health Benefits of Adding Just 10 More Minutes of Exercise in Your Day.

By: April Litchford RDN, PhD
Extension Assistant Professor

10 minute timer

The phrase “Drop and give me 10!”  may bring back unpleasant memories for some of us.  It may remind us of a tough physical education teacher or a coach that pushed us farther than we thought we could go.  But recent studies have shown that 10 more minutes of physical activity could be life changing. 

The current physical activity recommendations for adults are 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity aerobic exercise per week. The recommendation also states that increasing the amount of physical activity you participate in is directly linked to improved health.  Also, it doesn’t seem to matter how many minutes of activity you complete at one time, just that you get them in sometime during the day.  The most current research suggests that any exercise, for any amount of time, is beneficial for your health.  This means it doesn’t matter if you work out for 30, 20, or 10 minutes at a time.  What does matter is that you are up and moving! 

Does that mean you have to break a sweat every time you are physically active to see a benefit?  The answer is no!  Another recent study showed that low intensity exercise (no sweat here!) can improve health in small time intervals of 10-20 minutes a day!  In addition to these benefits, getting your heart pounding for even three minutes at a time will increase the benefit to your health.  Some of these amazing health benefits include improved oxygen absorption, insulin activity, and cardiorespiratory fitness.  

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Sprint Interval Training (SIT) are two exercise programs that are showing promising results in reducing chronic disease symptoms.  These programs focus on high-intensity bursts of exercise that typically last less than 10 minutes.  Some examples of high intensity exercises include jumping jacks, sumo squats, leg lifts, butt kicks, triceps dips, lunges, sit ups, and many more. These intense moves get your heart pumping and produce marked improvement for heart and vein diseases, blood sugar control, and overall health.  Planning when you will do these exercises and creating a new habit will make increasing your physical activity every day easy.  You could set an alert on your phone or computer to get up and move every hour or two.  Or you could park as far away from your work building as possible.  Or do 10 squats every time you take a break at work.      

So, get up and give me 10!  Because 10 more minutes a day can make a huge difference for your health tomorrow.


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Reljic, D., Frenk, F., Herrmann, H. J., Neurath, M. F., & Zopf, Y. (2021). Effects of very low volume high intensity versus moderate intensity interval training in obese metabolic syndrome patients: A randomized controlled study. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 2836.

Yang, Y. J. (2019). An Overview of Current Physical Activity Recommendations in Primary Care. Korean Journal of Family Medicine, 40(3), 135–142.