An Easier Physical Activity Option That Still Works

Medically reviewed in November 2019

Don't have the time (or the energy) for that 60-minute, high-intensity power walk? Fine. Do a mini version. It can still produce some pretty impressive health gains, a study shows.

In the study, people exercised just twice a week for roughly 20–25 minutes—keeping a low to moderate pace with occasional higher-intensity minutes mixed in. The results? Significant boosts in both metabolism and fitness levels.

Don't sweat it
And here's the kicker: Folks didn't have to go all out and kill themselves during the high-intensity minutes. They picked up the pace just a bit, anywhere from eight to a dozen times during their mini workouts. Bottom line: Endurance exercise of any kind—even for a handful of minutes—will help boost the production of mitochondria in your muscle cells. And that's good news for your health, because the more of those little energy generators you have inside your muscles, the better your muscles are able to convert glucose and fat into energy. Translation: improved metabolism.

When a little means a lot
Of course, more exercise is always better for you (barring becoming an exercise addict). The more you work out, the more mitochondria you'll have doing good things for your body—like boosting your metabolism and potentially reducing your risk of high blood sugar and obesity. So now you have no excuses—especially when less than 30 minutes of light exercise showed such smart health benefits. (Ready to two-step it for a spell? Visit our Walking Center for all the advice, tips, and tools you'll need to become a devoted daily walker.)

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