Research Shows that Physical and Mental Health Can be Impacted in Less Than 10 Minutes


It’s part of the American mindset that the longer you do something, the better or more positive the results will be. However, this isn’t always true. In fact, multiple independent research studies suggest that short 5 and 10-minute segments are all you need to improve physical and mental health related to particular shortcomings or ailments.

The 10-Minute Workout Plan

The problem with staying physically fit is that it takes a regular time commitment. Doctors and fitness gurus have always suggested that 30-minutes of uninterrupted exercise sessions are necessary for noticeable health benefits. However, there are studies that attempt to stand in the face of this claim and argue differently. According to a report by Dr. Glenn Gaesser, director of Arizona State University’s Healthy Lifestyles Research Center, 30 minutes of daily fitness may be important – but not so much the uninterrupted part.

Dr. Gaesser’s study looked at high blood pressure and prehypertension in a handful of adult volunteers and monitored how different exercise sessions affected their conditions. He asked his participants to walk at a rate of about 75 percent their maximum heart rate for three 10-minute sessions throughout the day (9:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 5:30pm). On separate days they walked one 30-minute session in the middle of the afternoon. On other days they remained inactive.

The results showed that all exercise helps, but breaking the 30 minutes up into three 10-minute sessions is more advantageous than a single half hour session. This “fractionized exercise” led to lower 24-hour blood pressure readings in almost all participants.

5 Minutes is All You Need to be Happier and Healthier

According to another study, it’s also possible to accrue mental benefits from simply being outside for short periods of time. This analysis, published in Environmental Science & Technology, says five minutes of exposure to nature leads to demonstrable mental and physical benefits. Five minutes of physical activity in nature is even better, with activities like walking, fishing, gardening, and horseback riding producing favorable results.

Even more interesting is the fact that segments longer than five minutes lead to diminishing results. Some of the participants that benefit most include those with high stress, high blood pressure, chronic headaches, and children suffering from ADHD. But why does being in nature for brief spurts of time help? The study’s researchers believe it’s related to nature’s ability to restore our capacity for attention.

“Humans living in landscapes that lack trees or other natural features undergo patterns of social, psychological, and physical breakdown that are strikingly similar to those observed in other animals that have been deprived of their natural habitat,” says Dr. Frances Kuo of the University of Illinois.

It’s for these same reasons that many individuals and businesses are investing in different training strategies when it comes to learning new skills or refining existing ones. For example, CBT Nuggets, a provider of on-demand IT training videos, has started offering 10-minute daily training options (as opposed to much longer hour-long sessions). Additionally, Jason Selk has a book titled 10-Minute Toughness that teaches athletes about mental strength.

Time Doesn’t Always Equal Results

The reality is that time commitment doesn’t always correlate with positive results. Sure, there are instances where you need to commit more than 10 minutes to a certain task or process, but you can’t make generalized statements that more is always better. These studies – and more – prove that the human mind and body sometimes respond to brief, repetitive exposure more than prolonged activity. In other words, shorter may be better.

Whether you’re a business owner, fitness guru, athlete, or anyone in between, understanding the principles discovered in these studies will help you continue to improve and grow.