The benefits of shorter, lighter workouts
Short workouts- going little and often- can bring a great many benefits above and beyond what you can expect from longer, harder sessions.
For example, recent research suggests that a fifteen-minute daily workout at a moderate to low intensity can increase your fitness longevity and even life expectancy.
Shorter workouts also bring great cognitive benefits. A short amount of time- around ten minutes or so- of maintaining an elevated heart rate and blood flow can increase cognitive function by up to 15%. Short sessions are also enough to release endorphins that will make you happier, with incidents of depression and anxiety reduced in people who take part in 10-15 minutes of physical activity per day.
Shorter, less intense workouts also slot into your schedule more easily. Going for 3-4, hour-long sessions per week is very demanding on your time. Hitting these sessions hard will drain you, meaning that you may be more sluggish in your day-to-day life. Setting aside fifteen minutes, and performing them at a more moderate pace, is much more achievable for most people.
You will get all the health benefits without having to beast yourself.
How to form good fitness habits #8 pre-commit
Pre-commitments are commitments you make ahead of time that make it more likely that you will go to the gym. They make sure you're invested in going. Arranging a time with a training partner or personal trainer, signing up to a class, even packing your workout clothes in with your work things, are all pre-commitments.
It's easy to say no to training in the moment. Preparing yourself, laying a good groundwork, will make it psychologically easier to stay consistent. If you have already prepared, if you have somebody expecting you to go to the gym, or if you have accountability, you will be far likelier to turn up.
Common pre-commitments include:
- Arranging a time with someone external
- Committing to a charity race or event (that you then have to train for)
- Packing your training clothes the night before
- Telling your partner or spouse that you're going to go to the gym
- Setting a goal ahead of time (SMART goals should be included for every training regime) and writing it down somewhere, or telling someone about it
All of these will greatly increase your likelihood of staying on-track.