It's no secret that the average American's attention span is getting shorter, even as we try to adopt or maintain healthy habits like exercise and meditation. And while we may admire the disciplined athletes and gymgoers who can dedicate an hour or more to a single workout session, that level of focus feels unattainable for many of us. That's where Micro Workouts come in.
If you find yourself running out of time in the day to get your reps in, micro workouts may offer a convenient solution for you. Built with busy people and the TikTok generation in mind, this bite-sized betterment movement may be worth a try.
What are Micro Workouts?
Micro workouts are built on squeezing in little fitness moments wherever and however, you can, whether throwing on your workout gear for ten intense minutes of HIIT or just knocking out a few pushups while your morning Keurig fires up.
Micro workouts are all about realism: yes, we know that the recommendation for healthy adults is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity and strength training per week, but what if we can't translate that into dedicated gym sessions or hourlong cardio classes? The micro workout movement's growing popularity can be attributed to its "better than nothing" approach to removing pressure and guilt from more traditional (and commitment-based) exercise programs.
Top Micro Workout Tips
The key to a successful micro workout routine is remembering that a bit of activity is better than none, and it's okay to break up your fitness goals into smaller bursts of exercise throughout the day. Studies show that small, intermittent rounds of activity are still highly beneficial for cardiovascular and muscular health, metabolism, and blood sugar stabilization. Plus, who doesn't find a bit of mid-day stress relief in a quick 10-minute solo dance party?
If you've got about ten minutes to spare between daily Zoom calls, a bottle of water, and your favorite interval time tracking app, here are some top moves and methods to try out:
Spend about ten minutes alternating between sprinting, walking, and jogging. Intervals can start at about 20 seconds each until you build up your endurance. Then mix up your routine by throwing in stair drills, weaving maneuvers, or jumping.
Gather up a mix of your favorite upper, lower, and core exercises, then build them into a ten to 15 mini-circuit with a walk or rest breaks scattered between. If you don't know where to start or which kind of movements to put together, check out our intro to primal fitness movements and incorporate them into your circuits for a full-body blast.
If changing into full workout gear or an intense ten-minute sweat session sounds like too much commitment, you can also break your routine into smaller, more practical steps. As we mentioned, this can be as simple as throwing down a few pushups or plank time while the Keurig is brewing, tackling several squats or walking lunges between meetings, or performing some calf raises while on a call.
This philosophy—commonly called incidental exercise—allows us the flexibility to weave small, practical changes into a holistic wellness mindset. With incidental exercise, we can throw in some straightforward activities like getting off the bus a few stops early to extend our walk home or taking the stairs instead of the elevator; no gear or significant time commitment is needed.
Whichever technique you choose, the idea is to focus on short bursts of activity—at whatever intensity level you're comfortable with—that you can incorporate into an overall healthier lifestyle. With micro workouts, you don't have to overhaul your life or tackle all of your fitness goals today; it's okay to take them one step at a time.
The Micro Method: Should You Try It?
The bottom line of micro workouts is that they can be a worthwhile addition to a healthy lifestyle, especially if you're pressed for time or find it hard to focus on any given activity for extended intervals. The micro workout concept is practical, affordable, and flexible, with endless possibilities for changing your routine and keeping things fresh. These anti-boredom workout bursts can also be great for breaking up a mundane workday or re-energizing you through periods of daily fatigue.
Of course, we recommend talking to your physician before significantly changing your health and wellness habits, especially if you've been relatively sedentary. But the other good news about micro workouts is that you can start with low-intensity sessions until you feel comfortable taking on more. All in all, the micro method is worth a shot.
Check out TRN's micro workout starter pack of free videos, apps, and resources to get those minis moving!
Have you tried micro workouts? Tell us about it by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.