Do I have to do 30 mins of cardio all at one time?

When trying to reach a fitness goal of 30 minutes of cardio a day, sometimes it is hard to find the time in our busy lives. If you are just starting out with a fitness program, it may also be too difficult to do a steady 30 minutes of cardio at one time.

Here is one way to make sure you stay on track and reach your cardio goals. Set aside 10 min - 3 times a day to get your heart rate up - it is much easier to find 10 min!

  • Set your alarm clock 10 min earlier in the morning - get moving for 10 min - squats, punches, walk.
  • At lunch - use 10 min of your time walking stairs or around the office.
  • In the evening - after or before dinner, watching the news, find 10 min to get up, move around... do something active.

No you do not have to do 30 minutes of cardio all at once. To ensure you see the benefits of your efforts, make sure you do three 10 minutes (no less) sessions of cardio each day. The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends cardio 5-7 days each week with 30 minutes each day. So as long as you are getting a total of 30 minutes from three 10 minute sessions you will be making a positive impact on your health.


For general health improvements, research has shown that performing three 10 minute sessions of physical activity is just as effective as performing one 30 minute session. Therefore, if you are looking for general health improvements, no, you do not have to do 30 minutes of cardio all at one time. However, it is important that you do perform 30 minutes total per day, five to seven days a week. Choose activities that you enjoy such as walking your day, playing soccer with your children, or working in the garden. The more you enjoy the activity, the better. These activities should also be of moderate enough intensity to raise your heart rate and increase your rate of breathing.

If your goal is to improve general health such as reducing the risk for heart disease, you do not have to perform 30 minutes of cardio all at one time. Research has shown that splitting cardiorespiratory exercise into smaller bouts of activity, such as three sessions of 10 minute bouts of activity can be just as helpful. As long as you are able to perform a minimum of 10 minutes per bout of exercise, you can consider your cardio sessions for the day as cumulative, allowing you to split up the time according to your personal preference. This can be particularly helpful for individuals who do not have time to devote 30 minutes at one time to exercise. It is also ideal for individuals who do not like cardio and find themselves having to mentally prepare for a large cardio session.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.