20-Minute Workouts Anyone Can Fit in Their Day for a Healthier Heart and Happier You
It is no secret that exercise is part of the trifecta of taking care of yourself. Diet, sleep, and exercise. Despite each being so vital to staying healthy, it is easy to fall behind in one category, if not all the categories. (I know I’m sure as heck guilty of this!) Exercise culture can make you dread the idea of working out. It seems like too much time in your busy day. But 20-minute workouts are easy to fit in, effective, and you can finish it in the time it takes to watch an episode of Friends.
- Exercise is part of the trifecta for taking care of yourself
- Benefits of working out include better sleep, less stress, and more energy
- It is recommended to incorporate 3 vigorous 20-minute workouts a week
Exercise in the United States has surely gotten the short end of the stick. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 53.3% of Americans met aerobic exercise (cardio) guidelines while only 23.2% met both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity guidelines. Busy lifestyles and lack of time may be a culprit for these low numbers.
A large misconception associated with exercise is that one must carve a large chunk out of their day to fit a workout in. That is far from the truth. 20-minute workouts are beneficial and so are 1-hour workouts. Doctors agree that the most important thing is that you’re moving your body, even if that means sprinkling a few 20-minute workouts into your week.
Why is exercise important for your health?
Exercise boasts so many benefits for health including but not limited to…
- Fighting off health conditions and diseases like diabetes, depression, and cancer
- Improving mood by producing endorphins and decreasing stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline
- Promoting better sleep
- Strengthening bones and muscles
- Having more energy
- Increasing chances of living longer
And those bullet points are only a big picture glance of why exercise is important for your health.
Are 20-minute workouts worth it?
According to the University of Wisconsin Health and many other medical professionals across the world, why yes, yes it is. Participating in any form of exercise is much better than foregoing exercise altogether.
Many health professionals acknowledge exercise duration recommendations are not always one size fits all due to how each body reacts to exercise. Moreover, a specific time interval of exercise is not the only contributing factor for securing health benefits. Other factors include the type of exercise, frequency of exercise, and intensity of exercise.
Luckily, as the University of Wisconsin Health wisely states, benefits from exercise “are not absolute.” Although there are duration recommendations, it does not mean exercise performed in “quantities less than this recommended amount is without benefit.”
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends adults participate in vigorous, 20-minute workouts 3 times a week. Remember, recommended duration is flexible and workout time can vary to fit your scheduling needs. However, the ACSM clarifies a minimum of 10 minutes must be met.
If incorporating 20-minute workouts into your weekly routine sounds like your jam, you’re in the right place.
Since the ACSM recommends vigorous exercise for short intervals we will be focusing on those today. Examples of exercise classified as vigorous include…
- Walking briskly (uphill and/or at 4+ mph)
- Running or jogging
- HIIT workouts
- Sports (tennis, basketball, etc)
These vigorous exercises target cardio and strength. It is important to get your heart rate up and break a sweat while working out for such a short time. That is how you will get the most out of your workout.
No Equipment 20-Minute Workouts
Not everyone has workout equipment or easy access to a gym and that is okay. Equipment and a gym are not necessary for a great workout. Here are two workouts you can do at home without any equipment.
- Go on an outdoor run, jog, or brisk walk
Create your own HIIT workout.
Here are some examples of exercises you could include…
- Jumping jacks
- High knees
- Jump squats
- Mountain climbers
- Arm circles
- Here are some examples of exercises you could include…
The options of exercises to include are truly endless. Almost every exercise can be modified to make it easier for beginners or modified for no equipment use.
If creating your own HIIT workout does not sound up your alley, Pinterest, Instagram influencers, and YouTube are great sources for finding led HIIT workouts. Here’s a HIIT workout led by notable fitness influencer Natacha Océane. 20 MIN HOME HIIT WORKOUT // No equipment, no noise, no impact
Equipment Needed 20-minute workouts
Other exercises such as swimming, cycling, and sports need equipment. You can also participate in indoor walking, running, jogging, and HIIT workouts with equipment. Here are some examples of workouts you can do with equipment.
- Outdoor or indoor cycling
- Swimming laps in the pool
3-12-20 Treadmill challenge
- Walk at a speed of 3, at an incline of 12, for 20 minutes
- Indoor run or jog on a treadmill
- The stair stepper
- Check out this weight led 20 minute HIIT workout by Heather Robinson 20 Minute // FULL BODY HIIT Workout With Weights
- Playing a sport with a friend like tennis or basketball
Exercise is so important for overall health including mental, heart, bone, and muscle health. Better sleep, less stress, and more energy are some of the main benefits of incorporating workouts into your lifestyle.
If all of this sounds appealing to you and you’re thinking, “Hey, I can do that,” you are so right.
Anyone has time for 20-minute workouts 3 times a week! Working out with a friend can be fun and a great way to keep yourself accountable. It will not be easy at first but the work will be worth it. Cheers to a healthier heart and happier you!
Written by Lauren Conklin