When you think of exercise, the first thing that comes to mind is probably an hour-long session at the gym. But what if you don’t have time for that? It turns out you can still see results with just 30 minutes of exercise per day. While it’s true that getting ripped takes a lot more than 30 minutes in the gym, research shows that this amount of exercise is still beneficial for your health. In fact, working out for at least 150 minutes per week (which breaks down to 30 minutes per day 5 days a week) can have far-reaching benefits (9). In this article, we take a look at what you can expect from 30 minutes of exercise a day. We also cover how to get started and which exercises to start with, so read on!
The Benefits Of Working Out 30 Minutes A Day
Daily exercise has several benefits, including:
One of the most obvious benefits of working out is weight loss (14). Thirty minutes of exercise a day can help you burn calories and lose weight, especially if you combine it with a healthy diet.
Remember, losing weight is all about keeping your calorie expenditure high and your calorie intake low. Thirty minutes of exercise will help you do just that – burn more calories.
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects (3). When you work out regularly, you’ll likely feel happier and more energetic, and you’re less likely to feel depressed.
Reduced Risk Of Disease
Regular exercise can reduce the risk of many diseases and health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes (7). It can also help prevent cognitive decline that comes with age.
Improved Cardio Fitness
Your cardiovascular fitness will improve with just 30 minutes of exercise each day (5). This means your heart and lungs will become stronger, and you’ll be less likely to experience shortness of breath or other problems when exercising.
Strengthened Immune System
Regular exercise can also help you get a better night’s sleep (11). This is because physical activity helps regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm.
Which Are The Best Exercises To Do For 30 Minutes Every Day?
Now that you know some of the benefits of working out for 30 minutes each day, let’s take a look at some exercises you can do to achieve these benefits.
Most beginners start out with cardio workouts, which are simple to do and don’t require much equipment. The best options for beginners are walking, jogging, biking, and swimming.
While cardio burns a lot of fat, it’s not so good at building muscle. If you’re looking to tone your muscles while shedding pounds, consider weight/strength training.
Strength Training Exercises For 30 Minutes A Day
If you’re interested in building muscle mass, then plan on doing some weight training in addition to your cardio workout. Simple bodyweight exercises are another option for beginners. These include pushups, squats, and crunches. Once you get more advanced, you can take on multi-muscle exercises like lunges, burpees, and mountain climbers.
Strength training not only helps you burn fat and tone your muscles, but it can also help reduce the risk of injuries in the future (10). So if you’re looking for the most benefits from your 30 minutes of exercise each day, make sure to include a few strength-training exercises.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
If you’re really short on time, consider doing High Intensity Interval Training instead. You can do HIIT either outdoors or indoors.
HIIT involves giving your all during quick bursts of exercise followed by brief periods of rest/low-intensity activity. For example, sprint for 30 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds to recover; repeat this cycle 8-10 times.
HIIT helps you burn more fat, boost your cardio fitness, and strengthen your muscles without spending too much time in the gym (8). Just 30 minutes of HIIT will have huge benefits on your body.
Yoga Or Pilates
If you’re looking for a low-impact workout that will also help improve your flexibility and balance, consider doing yoga or Pilates. These workouts can be done in 30 minutes or less and don’t require any special equipment.
Tabata is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that can be done in just 4 minutes (6). It’s a great option for people who are short on time but still want to get a good workout in. Most Tabata workouts involve doing a series of exercises back-to-back with very little rest in between.
Kickboxing is another high-intensity workout that can be done in 30 minutes or less. This workout not only helps you burn fat and tone your muscles, but it also helps improve your cardiovascular fitness and overall strength (13).
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How To Get Started With Working Out For 30 Minutes A Day?
Now that you know a little bit about the different types of workouts you can do for 30 minutes each day, it’s time to get started.
If you’re new to working out, start by doing cardio exercises like walking, jogging, biking, or swimming. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with those, add in some strength-training exercises. As you get more advanced, you can try HIIT, Tabata, or kickboxing workouts.
No matter which type of workout you choose, the important thing is that you do something to move your body for 30 minutes each day.
Here are some helpful tips:
Create Time For Exercise
The best way to make sure you get in your 30 minutes of exercise each day is to schedule it into your calendar like you would any other appointment. This will help ensure that you don’t miss your workout and that you make time for it each day.
Find An Exercise Partner
If you find it hard to stick to a routine, try finding an exercise partner. This person can help keep you accountable and motivated to work out each day (1).
You can also encourage each other to stick to your workouts by making a little competition out of it. For example, see who can complete their workout first or lose the most weight.
Create A Home Workout Routine
If you’re short on time and money, consider creating a home workout routine that you can do in just 30 minutes. You can do this using your own body weight for resistance (like pushups and squats) or invest in a few inexpensive workout DVDs.
Always Warm Up And Cool Down
Make sure you warm-up and cool down properly. This will help reduce the risk of injury and ensure that you get the most out of your workout. Some good warm-up exercises include marching in place, gentle stretches, and jumping jacks.
Some good cool-down exercises include walking, stretching, and yoga.
Work On Your Diet
No matter what workout you do, it’s important to work on your diet as well. Even if you’re doing 30 minutes of exercise each day, that alone won’t be enough to help you lose weight.
A healthy diet is made up of lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, and healthy fats. You should also drink plenty of water and avoid processed foods and sugary drinks (4).
Moreover, your calorie intake matters just as much as your calorie expenditure. If you’re eating more calories than you’re burning off, you won’t lose weight no matter how much exercise you do.
On the flip side, if your calorie intake is too low, you’ll also struggle to lose weight. The key is in finding the number of calories you need to keep your body healthy and satisfied so that you can maintain a steady weight.
No matter what diet plan you choose, remember that it’s not just about cutting down on certain foods or counting calories. You should also focus on eating lots of nutrient-rich fresh foods, like vegetables and lean meats.
During the day, your body is constantly rebuilding and repairing itself. If you don’t give it enough time to rest between workouts, you won’t see the results you want.
Aim for at least eight hours of sleep each night. Additionally, try taking days off now and then to allow your muscles to recover from your daily workouts (2).
Finally, remember that if you’re not seeing the results you want, you may need to adjust your workout routine.
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So, is working out for 30 minutes each day enough to see results? For the average person, the answer is most likely yes. But keep in mind that you may need to increase your workout time or intensity as you get stronger and fitter.
Start with cardio workouts and simple strength-training exercises, and gradually add more challenging exercises to your routine as you become more fit. And don’t forget to include some stretching and balance exercises in your routine to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injuries.
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!
- 3 Reasons to Work Out With a Friend (2020, cdc.gov)
- 8 Reasons to Take a Rest Day (2018, acefitness.org)
- Effects of exercise and physical activity on anxiety (2013, frontiersin.org)
- Essentials of Healthy Eating: A Guide (2011, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Exercise and Cardiovascular Health (2003, ahajournals.org)
- Exercise Intensity and Energy Expenditure of a Tabata Workout (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence (2006, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Is high-intensity interval training a time-efficient exercise strategy to improve health and fitness? (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Physical Activity (2020, cdc.gov)
- Resistance Training is Medicine Effects of Strength Training on Health (2012, journals.lww.com)
- The bidirectional relationship between exercise and sleep: Implications for exercise adherence and sleep improvement (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system (2019, sciencedirect.com)
- The effects of five weeks of kickboxing training on physical fitness (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)