Is 20 Minutes Of Exercise Enough? (Working Out For Busy Bees)

Last Updated on November 10, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer

If you ask anyone whether they think there is enough time in the day to accomplish all of the things they would like to accomplish, their answer is almost guaranteed to be a resounding “no”.

Despite the fact that some aspects of technology have aimed to try and make our day-to-day lives a little speedier, they’ve not quite managed to add hours to the day.

Is 20 Minutes Of Exercise Enough? (Working Out For Busy Bees)

When it comes to commitments, especially physical activity, we usually find that our plates are overflowing.

Finding enough time for exercise has been a problem that’s been around for decades and we are constantly trying to find what is the least we can do with the most benefits.

So, is 20 minutes of moderate exercise enough to make a difference? Absolutely!

This is the short answer and will probably be enough to make you feel a little better about yourself. Twenty minutes is plenty as long as you are approaching these valuable minutes with moderate intensity or higher, the right mindset, and pairing with other movement and nutrition choices.

Exercise Recommendations

You will often find that recommendations for exercise can be found everywhere and the answers rarely match up.

These answers range anywhere from specific numbers of days and minutes you should exercise, to vague answers ensuring that you need to do some form of movement every single day.

For some, simply doing push ups on a daily basis can be enough. For others targeting weight loss, a more intense routine may be the preferred regime.

However, the reality is that there isn’t a clear-cut answer for how long you should exercise for and there certainly isn’t one answer that’s going to work for everyone. Physical activity isn’t a “one size fits all” subject.

Plenty of research has been done to find out what the optimal amount of exercise that a person needs, and the issue with that is that the question itself isn’t nearly as simple as it sounds

We are all aware of the number of benefits that exercise has. These benefits range from weight management to improving blood pressure and blood glucose control. The list is practically endless.

Man doing crunches on mat.

There are certain factors that affect the benefits of exercise depending on your desired outcome. These include:

  • The type of exercise you do
  • How often you perform this exercise and the variety you include
  • What intensity you perform the exercise at (hint: you should target moderate intensity or higher)
  • How long you perform this exercise for

It is impossible to gauge how long you should exercise for as everyone is exercising for a different reason with their own variables.

Is 20 Minutes Of Exercise Enough?

The truth is that any exercise is better than no exercise at all. In fact, 20 minutes is actually a great amount of exercise to try daily. We do recommend that you perform twenty minutes of exercise at moderate intensity for 5 days a week.

If you prefer to perform more high intensity exercises then you will only need to do 20 minutes of exercise 3 days per week.

As long as you are consistent with your exercise and add in some aerobic activity, while making sure there is some variety to your routines, then you will see a difference even with 10 minutes a day.

At the end of the day, if you feel like you don’t have any time at all to exercise and so you don’t exercise, then you are not making any progress toward your fitness goals.

Exercise is a journey of motivation and dedication and you need to make sure that you are doing at least a little bit and often. Even if you are using nothing more than your own body weight!

And don’t forget to write down the progress you are making so that you can really see those goals come to life.

So, the short answer is yes, 20 minutes of exercise is enough as long you are consistent and stick with it.

Benefits Of 20 Minutes Of Exercise

If we haven’t yet convinced you to include 20 minutes a day of exercise into your busy schedule, then check out these amazing weight loss and fitness benefits.

Man doing lunges in living room.

Fast Results

You are probably familiar with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The reason it is so popular is that it really works!

By exercising for short bursts of time, you get your heart rate up and your blood pumping which allows the muscles to work effectively and quickly.

Research shows that by doing even just 10 minutes of HIIT, you can improve your cardiovascular endurance by the same amount that a 45-minute run would. How’s that for maximizing your physical activity?

Burning Calories

One of the biggest reasons why people exercise in general is to try and burn off more calories.

The good news is that when you work out for 20 minutes you can burn a substantial amount of calories. And if you are really trying to lose weight, make sure to add in some aerobic activity!

Studies have been done to look into the efficiency of exercise when it comes to burning calories and it has shown that when you pair cardiovascular endurance with a healthy diet and high-intensity activity, you can burn more calories than running or jogging.

Regular and consistent short bursts of exercise will help to improve your metabolic rate, helping you to burn those calories and shed off those pounds.

Staying Youthful

Older woman doing planks to stay youthful.

Along with all of these other benefits, it has been proven that workouts for 20 minutes of moderate intensity have a huge benefit on aging.

As we age our cells become less efficient at producing energy.

So, by doing regular HIIT, you are able to improve the way your cells produce this energy. This can help to keep you looking more youthful for longer when performed consistently.

Mental Health Improvements

It has been widely known for a long time now that physical activity is not only good for our fitness but also our mental health.

Shorter workouts can help your body to release endorphins that are also known as “feel good” hormones.

This will occur at a quicker rate compared to going for a run or a long gym session. Qwik, 20-minute workouts, leave us plenty of time for the rest of the day to get what we need done.

When we think about 20 minutes as a length of time it feels like nothing and therefore doesn’t feel like too much of a chore to perform. This way we can actually start to look forward to the time we spend exercising rather than dreading it.

High-intensity exercise may sound scary at first, but this exercise can actually be quite fun as it’s a short burst of energy being released. It can actually be somewhat cathartic.

The Bottom Line

If you have claimed that you are unable to engage in exercise due to the fact that you have no time in the day, then a 20 minute exercise is the solution you’ve been looking for.

It has been proven that moderate to high intensity aerobic activity has plenty of benefits for you.

If you have even less time than 20 minutes, you should try out a 10-minute HIIT program.

At the end of the day, something is better than nothing and we maintain that even trying to get a little bit of exercise in every day will bring you one step closer to your goals. Again, think of starting with just push ups if you are looking for a way to get started!

We hope that this article has helped you understand the benefits of exercising for 20 minutes a day at moderate intensity and how EVEN YOU can incorporate this into your busy life.

We know that it may seem difficult, but anyone is able to achieve their goal as long as they make the first step!

TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
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