If You’ve Ever Wondered If a 15-Minute Workout Is Worth It, the Answer Is Yes

In the age of “if you didn’t Instagram your workout, did it really count?” fitness can feel like an all-or-nothing proposition—but it shouldn’t. Together with Michelob ULTRA—the next-level light beer that wants to take the stress out of staying fit—we’re exploring ways to be active that you’ll actually enjoy. Because being healthy doesn’t require fitness to be your whole life, just one (fun) part of it. 

With resolution season in full swing, and the constantly full gym suggesting people must be spending more time there than in their actual homes, it’s easy to feel like you, too, should be intensifying your workouts.

But—and get ready to hear the best news you’ve heard in a while—we disagree. One of the wellness trends we're calling for 2020 is the concept of adopting a Blue Zones fitness mentality, which means you don't have to take up permanent residence in the gym in order to stay healthy and fit.

ICYMI, Blue Zones are the areas of the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives. One thing that the Grecians, Costa Ricans, and Japanese have in common? They all integrate movement naturally into their daily lives.

“The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons, or join gyms.”

“The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons, or join gyms,” says National Geographic fellow and author Dan Buettener, who coined the phrase Blue Zones, on his website. “Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it."

And while we’re definitely not saying you shouldn’t sign up for a marathon or join a gym if those things light you up, it’s a big ole sigh of relief to think that maybe fitness doesn’t need to be so all-consuming.

To figure out just how little time you can get away with spending on your workouts (can you blame us?), we joined forces with Michelob ULTRA—the light beer that's on a mission to make working out more fun—and found a slew of ways to get active this year, without spending your life in the gym.

Scroll down to find out how 15-minute workouts (and other forms of easy activity) can help boost your fitness in 2020.

Get stepping

“A basic increase in activity is possibly the most underrated principle when it comes to your health and, for most people, could unlock a lot of progress in many aspects of overall fitness,” Ben Lauder-Dykes, trainer at Fhitting Room in New York City says. And one of the easiest ways you can add a little more activity to your day, he says, is to increase your steps.

“Walking is accessible for most fitness levels and any increase is going to have a positive effect,” he says. “There’s a study from 2010 that measured the energy expenditure of walking or running a mile. As expected, running required more total energy, but it was a less than 10 percent difference showing that walking alone can provide some significant benefits.”

15-minute workouts

Try 15-minute bodyweight workouts

If short workouts are all you have time for, that’s A-okay. This study from 2014 found equal health benefits across 30- and 15-minute workouts, so no need to tack on extra time to feel like your workout "counted."

“I love a micro-workout because they’re very efficient and you can really go all out during a short burst,” says Amanda Murdock, director of fitness at Daily Burn. “Fit in five minutes when you can—when you wake up, before dinner, after dinner, any time. Once you make time for five minutes, you might just find that you have time for 15 or 20.” (Plus, you might find yourself wanting to go longer—crazy, right?)

Studies have found equal health benefits across 30- and 15-minute workouts.

Similarly, Lauder-Dykes suggests picking a bodyweight movement and performing a set number of reps each day. “Try 100 squats or 50 to 100 push-ups. You have the whole day to complete them as your schedule allows, and you can choose different movements on different days." You'll be able to set a solid foundation and improve as you continue to build upon it, without stressing over how much time you have.

Workout-ify your daily routine

Want to add more movement to your day-to-day routine? Try turning your commute into a bike ride,  switching to a standing desk, taking a walk with a work friend, or always taking the stairs (Orangetheory coach Garner Pilat's personal favorite).

“I don’t normally recommend working out every day, just moving your body in some way every day is what matters,” she says. “My motto is: quality over quantity, and consistency over intensity.”

At the end of the day, if the thought of spending 60 minutes at the weight rack makes you want to curl up into a tiny ball, you should probably reevaluate your your workout plan. The exercises you enjoy are the ones you’ll stick to, and as we’ve found, they don’t need to soak up hours of your time to be beneficial.

“Finding ways to move on your terms and based on your lifestyle might possibly be the key to long term health and fitness,” Lauder-Dykes says. Now that’s a resolution we can stick to.

Sponsored by Michelob ULTRA

Photos: Michelob ULTRA

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