Fitness: You only have to exercise for 12 minutes to get healthier, says research

Hate going for long runs? New research says you only have to exercise for just over 10 minutes to get some fitness benefits

Fitness exercise outdoors
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When first getting into exercise, it can be very intimidating to think of exercising for a long period of time – so much so that it might put some people off from exercise at all. 

Anyone who's ever looked at one of the best Fitbit watches or best fitness trackers during a workout, and been shocked they've only burned 200 calories, can surely empathise. 

However, it turns out in order to get some benefits from exercise, you only have to work out for just a few minutes, according to science. 

The study, conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital, found short bursts of exercise can lead to significant improvements in indicators of metabolic health. This dropped the body's glutamate levels, which is a chemical linked to heart disease, diabetes and decreased longevity, by 29%. 

MGV, which is a "metabolite" chemical in the body associated with increased risk of diabetes and liver disease, dropped by 18%. The study shows even in very short periods of exercise, you can start getting healthier and decreasing your risk of heart disease and other health problems which are linked to obesity. 

You can find a selection of our best short workouts below, to get started:

HIIT workout earbuds

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Another study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found running for just over 10 minutes a day, five days a week, is enough to reduce your risk of mortality from cardiovascular conditions by at least 30% compared to non-runners. 

The study took place over the course of three years, but it won't take that long to make regular running a habit. Programmes like Couch to 5K are designed to slowly introduce participants to the basics of running, and help elevate your fitness to take on a 5K. 

Of course, eventually, you'll want to start exercising for longer periods of time. But never fear that because you're only doing short workouts, it's of no benefit to your health and fitness. 

Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.