5 Minute Workouts That Have Proven Health Benefits

By Eden Briggs Posted 6/2/2021 in FITNESS

It is certainly true that any workout at all is better than no exercise—but do five-minute workouts really have proven health benefits?

The Science Behind How Long You Should Work Out

How much time do I really need to spend working out?

In general, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (running or dancing) per week. They also recommend that adults do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least twice per week.

The recommended time commitment to maintain a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming. However, studies have shown that workout intensity is much more important than the length of time you spend at the gym or on the treadmill.


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Do five-minute workouts really work?

Yes! Even short workouts can have significant health benefits. When you add quick five-minute, high-intensity workouts to your day, you can decrease the likelihood of obesity and increase the proteins that help with appetite control.

In fact, in one study, the participants who did several five-minute workouts throughout the day noted that they felt fuller than those who just did one exercise routine for an hour.

Michael Joyner, M.D, is an exercise researcher with the Mayo Clinic. He states, “A five-to-ten-minute workout, if done consistently, coupled with building as much cardio into your daily life by doing things like walking the dog and taking the stairs every chance you get, can all add up to get you in shape.”

5-Minute Workouts to Try Today

If you have five minutes, you can do a great workout. While getting in one five-minute workout per day is great, doing a routine a few times per day will be even more effective. Consider combining some of the below ideas to get a workout plan that will work well for you.

All of these quick workouts use only your body weight so that you can do them anywhere you have a little bit of space!

If you are just starting out, you may not want to go for a full, high-intensity five-minute workout just yet. Instead, start with the first one on our list below:

Bird Dog

Position your body on your hands and knees. Be sure your back is flat and your hands are flat on the ground. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders. Hold in your abs tightly. Then, simultaneously lift your right leg and left arm off the floor. Keep your hips and shoulders square. Bring them back down to the ground. Repeat the same process on the opposite side of your body.

One rep includes movement on both sides of your body. Do 20 reps as part of this workout.

Plank Push-up

Put yourself in an elbow-plank position with both feet out while resting on your elbows, arms flat on the ground. Then, raise yourself up so that you move from your elbows to your palms, one arm at a time, in a push-up position. Return to plank position. Be sure to maintain a tight core. Do 20 reps.

Photo by Simona Roubkova on Unsplash

Lunge (Walking Squat)

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart keeping plenty of space in front of you. Step one foot about six inches forward. Bend at the hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or as close to parallel as you can get). Bring your foot back and do it again on the other side. Bending both sides is one rep—do 10 reps.

Extending your stance can increase the intensity of this move.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

4-Minute Tabata Drills

Tabata involves high-intensity interval drills. They are a great way to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. This high-intensity drill is actually only four minutes long, but it is an intense four minutes. You do one exercise for 20 seconds, going as hard as you can, and then you rest for 10 seconds. You repeat this process eight times with a quick warm-up and quick cool down.

  • March in place for 30 seconds.
  • Do high knees (alternate lifting your knees as high as you can, as fast as you can) for 20 seconds.
  • Stop and rest for 10 seconds.
  • Do skaters for 20 seconds. Skaters involve jumping from one side to the other, staying low with the opposite foot behind you and the opposite hand toward the front foot.
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Repeat these two exercises seven more times with rests in between.
  • End with marching in place or a stretching cool down.

5-Minute Yoga Workout

Photo by Elly Fairytale from Pexels

You may be surprised just how intense some yoga poses can be. A simple sun salutation can increase your heart rate and tone up your arms, legs, and core. Yoga has also been shown to be a huge stress reducer. It can increase your mood and enhance your overall well-being. In fact, it has even been associated with decreased depression and anxiety symptoms.

Start your sun salutation at the head of your yoga mat. Then, inhale and lift your arms overhead, pressing your palms together. As you exhale, dive forward over your feet into a forward bend with your head facing down and your chest close to your legs.

Touch the ground. Inhale and extend your legs back into plank position. Exhale, lowering yourself to the ground with a triceps pushup.

Next, lift your chest off the ground and into a cobra position.

Photo by Elly Fairytale from Pexels

Straighten your arms to come into the upward-facing dog pose.

Finally, push yourself back as you exhale into downward-facing dog with your arms straight, bottom in the air, and heels down as much as possible.

Photo by Elly Fairytale from Pexels

Stay in downward-facing dog for three to five full breaths. Then, step or hop forward to take your place at the front of your mat again. Do a reverse swan dive to come back up while bringing your palms together overhead. Bring your prayer hands to your chest and restart the process.

Repeat the sun salutation five times for your five-minute workout.

5-Minute Cardio Workout

Cardio, especially in high-intensity bursts, is excellent for your metabolism and helps you burn fat even after you stop the workout. Sprints increase your stamina and provide great cardiovascular exercise. It also increases muscle, just like weight training, but it targets dozens of muscles at the same time.

Sprinting is one of the most complete muscle training exercises you can do for your body. Comparatively, long runs or marathons can force you to lose muscle because the body is in action for a longer period of time.

Start this quick workout by walking or jogging at a moderate pace for 30 seconds. Then, switch to a fast walk or sprint for 30 seconds. Repeat the same process four more times. Push yourself hard during your fast walk or run, but use your slower 30 seconds for an active recovery. It is important that you do not simply stop after your fast walk or sprint—ease off the gas with a recovery move so your heart rate does not drop too quickly.

You can also do this cardio workout by walking and sprinting in place. For an added challenge, replace your sprint in place with high knees.

Get Moving!

If you have five minutes, you have time to get healthy! Make a quick five-minute exercise part of your morning routine or work in a quick workout during lunch to enjoy the health benefits of working out. Your mind and body will thank you.