For those who are out of shape or out of time, 30-minute exercise sessions can be daunting.
If your muscles and your schedule aren’t up to it all, Stanford University has good news for you: Three or four ten-minute sessions will do beginning exercisers just about as much good.
In one test, overweight people were divided into two groups. One group exercised for 40 minutes a day, 5 days a week. The other exercised in 10-minute sessions four times a day, 5 days a week.
After 20 weeks, both groups boosted their aerobic capacity and experienced similar weight loss (15 to 20 pounds). But those assigned to short periods stuck to their schedule better than the other group. This suggests that beginning exercisers may find it easier to break up their workouts into small, manageable segments.
Studies at the University of Pittsburgh suggest that turning coffee breaks into exercise breaks is a good idea. Try 10 minutes of brisk walking before work, 10 minutes of stair-climbing or a quick run at noon, and 10 minutes of cycling in the evening, or any other schedule or activity that suits you.