How 5 Minute Workouts Can Keep You Fit, Even If You're Pressed For Time

Pilates, yoga, spin, and even dance. Your local gym most likely offers a whole variety of fun, exciting classes that fit different interests and fitness goals. But when you're a very busy person, attending multiple exercise classes a week is hard to fit into your schedule. You're not always going to have the time to drive to the gym, work out for an hour, shower, change clothes, and then continue on with the rest of your day. 

Even going to the gym to exercise on your own can be a tight squeeze, especially if it's your first time in the gym, and you're still learning the ropes. Sometimes, when you're particularly busy — for instance when you're working a full-time job and have kids to chase after too — finding more than five minutes in a day to do a few moves can be a challenge. 

But is five minutes for a workout really enough to keep you in shape and running at peak performance? Get ready to cheer, because according to fitness experts, five-minute workouts can help keep you fit.

Short workouts offer bigger health benefits

It goes without saying that doing a little bit of exercise does your body better than remaining sedentary for the entire day. So even if you only have time to stretch at your desk or take a brisk walk down the street while you're on break, go for it! Getting in just five minutes of exercise is going to make a difference in your overall health.

What you don't want to do is tell yourself that if all you can squeeze in is a five-minute workout, then you shouldn't bother. According to Joyce Shulman, who is a certified trainer and the founder of Jetti Fitness, even if you're someone who hates working out, you should be aiming to get those quick bouts of exercise in at an absolute minimum.

Not bothering to attempt any exercise whatsoever could cause you to miss out on some of the most powerful health gains you can get. "Research also shows that some of the biggest benefits for health and longevity come to those who go from very little activity, or being largely sedentary, to even some moderate movement," Schulman told Bustle.

Shorter workouts also boost heart health

Working out is something you should do because you love it and because you want to meet the fitness goals you or your doctor have set in place. It should never be an activity where you're pushing yourself past your limits. In fact, excessive exercise can actually lead to detrimental side effects, including pain in your joints and a rise in your resting heart rate, as Livestrong warns. 

These ramifications often occur if you're overdoing it by forcing yourself to do an hour-long workout just because you finally found the time to do it. This brings us to another benefit of working out for five minutes at a time: It makes for a healthy heart. Speaking with NBC News, Glenn Gaesser, who is a professor of exercise science at Arizona State University, extolled the virtues of short bouts of exercise. 

Gaesser explained that quick, high-intensity workouts give you just as many positive effects as working out once for a longer amount of time. In particular, Gaesser saw an improvement in blood glucose control in those working out in short bursts. So, if you don't have the time for longer workouts, don't sweat it! You can still reap many great benefits by getting your heart rate up in short bursts.