Blog Micro Exercise Micro Exercise Tips, Types, and Workout Plans for Anyone to Use Anywhere

Micro Exercise Tips, Types, and Workout Plans for Anyone to Use Anywhere

Micro exercise may hold the answers to how you can work out when you have a busy schedule. Finding the time for 30-minute exercise routines multiple times a week isn’t always realistic in a fast-paced world. 

Fortunately, micro exercise is the hot new trend that welcomes you to spot-train desired muscle groups anywhere, at any time. You don’t need to waste time on a 20-minute gym drive or juggling kids with remote work while committing to a full training session. Instead, do micro sessions. Here’s how. 

What Is a Micro Workout?

Micro workouts are intense bursts of exercise that you can do anytime or anywhere. Some micro workouts require dumbbells or simple equipment at home, while others use body weight to create resistance for an effective, fast-paced exercise. You perform micro exercises multiple times daily, typically lasting 5-10 minutes per session. Here are some examples:

  • 1-minute cardio exercise snacks multiple times daily (8)
  • 2-minute vigorous workouts multiple times daily (11)
  • 6-minute high-intensity workouts at home (4)
  • 8-minute cardio/resistance workouts multiple times daily (9)
  • 10-minute micro workouts three times daily (7)
  • 15-minute micro sessions twice daily (7)

However, micro exercises are more than a 5-minute stint. Let’s show you what they are, the benefits that are involved, and how to do them anywhere, anytime. 

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What Are the Types of Micro Exercise?

There are three types of micro exercise: aerobic, strength training, and combination workouts. You increase your heart rate quickly and frequently or target specific muscle groups intensely for short workouts multiple times daily. Alternatively, you can combine both approaches. 

Micro Aerobics

Micro aerobics is also known as exercise snacks and involves quickly and vigorously performing a cardio workout on the spot or on the way to your next appointment. For example, you could push yourself hard up five stair flights rather than taking the elevator. 

See also
HIIT Calories Burned: Exploring the Science of HIIT Workouts

Canadian scientists found that multiple 1-minute micro-sessions or exercise snacks daily can improve cardiovascular health and metabolic responses (8). Exercising for a minute multiple times a day may help you get the cardio workouts you need when time feels limited.

Micro Strength Training

Strength training refers to body weight and weight-lifting movements. A quick calisthenics workout that lasts ten minutes will do the trick. Alternatively, keeping dumbbells close to lift your weights three times daily for ten minutes may also help you strengthen muscles. 

German researchers found that untrained individuals improved their functional strength after four weeks of 6-minute online HIIT workouts (4). One group only performed a single session daily. Bodyweight HIIT sessions improve strength, but not cardiovascular performance. 

In addition, the Mayo Clinic suggests a single set of weight training exercises is just as effective as multiple sets per muscle group (2). Doing 10-15 reps properly and vigorously for a short time could help you with time-saving micro-sessions, targeting multiple groups each day. 

Combined Micro Workouts

Combined micro workouts are any that use strength training and cardio. Strength training can use your body weight or dumbbells. However, you must elevate your heart rate and do vigorous, specific muscle reps for a short time. 

The Cleveland Clinic studied how functional high-intensity training (F-HIT) with aerobic and resistance movements helped individuals with type 2 diabetes (9). Individuals in the 8-minute group were found to reduce their heart disease risk and better manage their glucose levels. 

It only takes eight minutes a day, three days a week to see results. Combining cardio and resistance training in short bursts of multiple daily workouts may improve muscle strength while enhancing your cardiac performance, unlike resistance training alone (4). 

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Are Micro Exercises Effective?

The micro workouts research above already suggests some benefits, but you may experience more health benefits if you look more closely at the results. Let’s share the amazing benefits you can experience with exercise snacks throughout the day. 

See also
The Best Workout Split For Muscle Gain: What To Know Before Getting Started

Micro Exercise for Weight Loss

Research by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh shows promising results for using micro exercise as a weight loss tool (7). Four groups of women participated, with one group doing no exercise, another doing the traditional 30 minutes, and two groups doing micro sessions. 

The two micro session groups did 15 minutes twice daily and 10 minutes three times daily. The participants also followed a calorie-restriction diet over 12 weeks. However, both micro exercise groups lost a similar amount of weight and waist circumference to the 30-minute group. 

The results show that micro sessions lasting 10 minutes, three times a day for 3-5 days a week may help you lose weight if you restrict calories as part of your program (7). WebMD recommends a 500-1,000-calorie deficit daily to lose 1-2 pounds a week(5). 

Performing micro workouts with a calorie deficit may help you transform your body. Women should consume 1,200-1,500 and men should consume 1,500-1,800 calories daily to lose weight with exercise. These numbers are dependent on the individual and you should use a calorie calculator to find your exact calorie goal. You should also eat a well-balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, nuts, and seeds to potentially see better results (5). 

Other Micro Exercise Benefits

Micro exercise may benefit you in more ways. For example, women who lost weight also showed improved cardiorespiratory fitness after 12 weeks (7). Another research showed how various micro workouts may improve cardiometabolic fitness, strength, and diabetes management (7, 4, 9).

Further studies have shown more potential benefits. UCLA Health suggests micro stretching, weight-bearing exercises, and aerobics may help improve balance, coordination, and flexibility (11). Seniors could benefit from a few micro sessions each day. 

UCLA Health also confirms that intense 2-minute micro sessions may be as effective as longer exercise routines (11). Finally, University Hospitals suggests micro exercises may boost your mood by giving you short bursts of endorphins multiple times daily (12). 

See also
10 Best Glute Exercises To Add To Your Routine and Why

Read more: How to Turn Exercise Motivation Into Real Actions?

How Do You Do a Micro Workout?

Multiple micro exercises exist, depending on your needs. Combination exercises work the best, but you should choose what suits you from our top picks. 

Micro Workout Plan for Beginners

University Hospitals suggests you could benefit from a 10-minute micro HIIT session (12). Follow this routine multiple times each day to get your heart pumping:

  1. Do a few dynamic stretches and spot-running to warm up for 2-3 minutes,
  2. Do calisthenics that get your heart racing at a high intensity for 1-2 minutes,
  3. Slow down to a spot-run or gentler exercise for 1-2 minutes,
  4. Do another intense calisthenics workout for 1-2 minutes,
  5. Cool down with some gentle dynamic stretches for 2 minutes to relax your body.

Healthline recommends eight beginner’s calisthenics exercises to use (1):

  • Burpees
  • Chin-ups (may be difficult for beginners)
  • Crunches
  • Dips
  • Jump rope
  • Jump squats
  • Pull-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Lunges
  • Jumping jacks

Medical News Today also recommends the following dynamic stretches runners typically use, which work for a warm-up before an intense workout (6):

  • Arm circles
  • Cat-cow
  • High Knees
  • Hip Circles
  • Leg Swings
  • Upper-body twist

Micro Exercises at Your Desk

Micro workouts are effective for time and space challenges. Doing micro workouts at your desk will help you beat time restrictions further. Did you know that Chinese schools make class-break calisthenics exercise routines mandatory (10)?

It was both shocking and impressive to see a video of Chinese students breaking their class with a synchronized calisthenics routine led by their teacher (10). You can do a micro desk workout to match the energy of those children. 

Higher intensity is the priority. Warm your muscles up with a few arm circles and leg raises at your desk for 2 minutes before completing 10-12 reps of each exercise for 5-8 minutes of exercise:

  1. Calf raises
  2. Desk push-ups
  3. Seated torso twists
  4. Seated bicycle crunches
  5. Triceps dips (not on a wheeled chair!)
  6. Chair squats
  7. Wall push-ups
  8. Seated leg lifts
See also
Pilates For Posture: How It Works And The Best Exercises To Do

micro exercise  

Micro Weight Lifting Routine

The Mayo Clinic says lifting routine doing 10-15 reps vigorously and properly for each muscle group is as effective as completing multiple sets (2). The below workout focuses on the upper body to inspire other weight-lifting micro exercise routines at home. 

You’ll need a set of dumbbells and you’ll work your arms and shoulders vigorously for 5 minutes. Use controlled reps and an intentional rhythm to complete a set of 10-15 reps for each exercise. Focus on feeling each rep and activating the muscles. Only complete a second set if you want to get closer to 10 minutes.

  1. Dumbbell deadlifts
  2. Dumbbell shoulder press
  3. Lateral raises
  4. Rear delt flyes
  5. Overhead triceps extension
  6. Bicep curls
  7. Upright row
  8. Dumbbell thruster

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Micro Workouts for Seniors

A combination of stretching, weight-bearing exercises, and aerobics may improve flexibility, balance, and coordination in short workouts (11). Medical News Today says that you should stop stretching if you feel pain (6). You should aim for mild to moderate tension when stretching.

However, a warm-up is essential for seniors to avoid injuries. Start with a 1-minute march and then use this 2-minute dynamic stretching guide before starting an 8-minute workout. 

  • Arm circles
  • Calf stretch
  • Cat-cow
  • High knees
  • Hip circles
  • Leg swings

Follow this guide to complete a short session. Complete 10-15 reps of each exercise, slowing down to a spot march for 30 seconds between exercises. Continue repeating exercise sets until you complete 5-10 minutes to potentially enjoy beneficial results (11). 

  1. Lunges
  2. Seated leg raises
  3. Glute bridge
  4. Step-ups
  5. Squats
  6. Modified push-ups
  7. Cool down with the dynamic stretch routine after completing all sets. 
See also
7 Outside Workouts Benefits and How To Get Started

Read more: Is The Japanese Towel Exercise an Effective Way to Burn Belly Fat?

Micro Workout Challenge

Micro workouts every hour sounds time-consuming. However, if you challenge yourself to a micro exercise routine every hour to increase your heart rate, you can benefit from staying active in a remote job. Exercise snacks of a minute are enough to see potential benefits (8). 

So, start challenging yourself to do 1-minute exercise snacks every hour for a week. Increase your micro workouts to 2 minutes every hour the second week and 3 minutes every hour the third week. Exercise snacks include running upstairs or jogging to the other side of the house and back. 

However, combination micro workouts may provide greater benefits (9). Do simple things to challenge yourself, such as walking somewhere vigorously while carrying two weighted objects for a minute, or do proper exercises from the above lists. 

Our micro workout challenge dares you to exercise every hour for 1-3 minutes. Other than combining weight training and aerobics, it’s up to you which exercises you perform. You should stick to those you feel most comfortable with. Also, follow our expert tips to stay motivated and on track with exercise snacks (3):

  • Start small and increase your times
  • Choose workouts you enjoy
  • Mix the exercises up to target multiple muscles
  • Challenge a friend to join you for social support and accountability
  • Set reminders to help you every hour
  • Build a micro workout habit on the hour
  • Track your weight loss each week

For more exercise tips:

micro exercise  


  • How many micro workouts should I perform each day?

Split your workouts into three 10-minute or six 5-minute sessions daily to see results. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh research shows that overweight women improved their fitness and lost weight by doing three 10-minute sessions daily 3-5 days a week (7).

  • What are the results of micro workouts?

Micro exercise may lead to weight loss and cardiovascular fitness in overweight women (7). In addition, micro workouts may improve cardiometabolic fitness, strength, and diabetes management (7, 4, 9). You may also improve balance, coordination, and flexibility (11). Finally, you may experience positive changes in your mood (12).

  • Why is micro exercise important?

UCLA Health suggests micro exercise is important as intense micro workouts have similar benefits to longer sessions (11). Many people believe exercise is a 30-minute commitment, but micro exercise is great for those who can only commit to multiple 2-minute sessions throughout the day due to time restraints. Any movement is better than none. 

  • What is micro HIIT?

Micro HIIT sessions have a shorter duration than traditional HIIT sessions, but you can still benefit from the brief burst of resistance and cardio training. The Cleveland Clinic found that individuals who did micro HIIT for six weeks for just eight minutes a day still reduced their heart disease risk and improved their insulin and glucose levels (9). 

The Bottom Line

Micro exercise could be the key to you finding the time to lead a healthier lifestyle with short bursts of heart-pumping workouts or weight-training sessions when you’re on a busy schedule. Understand the potential benefits and choose a micro workout suitable for your needs. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 8 Calisthenics Exercises for a Basic Workout (2023,
  2. 10 Tips for Weight Training – Mayo Clinic Health System (2023,
  3. 12 Tips to Help You Stick With Your Fitness Program (2023,
  4. A 4-Week Intervention Involving Mobile-Based Daily 6-Minute Micro-Sessions of Functional High-Intensity Circuit Training Improves Strength and Quality of Life, but Not Cardio-Respiratory Fitness of Young Untrained Adults (2018,
  5. Caloric Deficit: What to Know (2023,
  6. Dynamic Stretching: Definition, Examples, Benefits, and More (2023,
  7. Effects of Long Versus Short Bout Exercise on Fitness and Weight Loss in Overweight Females (2001,
  8. Exercise Snacks: A Novel Strategy to Improve Cardiometabolic Health (2022,
  9. Functional High Intensity Exercise Training Ameliorates Insulin Resistance and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Type 2 Diabetes (2019,
  10. Physical Education in Chinese Schools: Role Models, Repetition, and Winning (2016,
  11. Research Shows That Short, Intense Workouts Are Beneficial | UCLA Health (2023,
  12. Short Bursts of Activity Can Have Huge Health Benefits | University Hospitals (2023,