Two-Minute Exercises Can Improve Your Health

Health guidelines generally recommend that every adult should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week.

Unfortunately, about 75% of American adults fail to meet this goal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

One possible reason why people don’t engage in enough physical activity is that they impose on themselves a restrictive definition of what “exercise” can be.

They may think that it only counts as exercise if it happens at the gym or lasts for at least 30 minutes.

If that’s how you think about exercise, you may benefit from reconsidering your definition.

Recent research suggests that even two-minute of activity can significantly affect your health.

Disrupting Prolonged Sitting

Along with not getting enough exercise, too many people spend way too much time sitting.

Over 30 chronic illnesses have been linked to excessive sitting, including:

  • obesity
  • cardiovascular disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • osteoporosis
  • chronic pain
  • frailty
  • fatigue
  • breast and prostate cancer
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • dementia

Multiple clinical studies over the past few years suggest that it doesn’t take much to counteract the harmful effects of sitting.

It can be as simple as this: anytime you’ve been sitting down for 30 minutes or more, stand up and do a quick 2-minute exercise.

Examples of 2-Minute Exercises

There are lots of different exercises you can do in just two minutes.

Here are a few examples:

  • Running in place
  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Bodyweight squats
  • Jumping jacks
  • Lunges
  • Calf raises
  • Wall sits
  • Yoga stretches
  • Dancing
  • Cleaning

These are just a few ideas to get you started.

The basic goal is to move all your muscles and get your heart rate up for a few minutes.

When you make it a habit to do this multiple times each day, you can more easily reach the 150-minute weekly goal.

Why It Works

Short spurts of exercise appear to inspire interesting changes in how your metabolism processes proteins and amino acids.

The proteins in your muscles and tissues are constantly being recycled. Old and damaged proteins are broken down and removed, while new proteins are synthesized to take their place.

This process, known as muscle protein turnover, is vital for maintaining muscle mass and function. When you aren’t very active, this turnover cycle can become unbalanced, leading to muscle loss and tissue damage.

But when you exercise—even for just 2 minutes—protein synthesis and utilization can be stimulated. This helps to maintain and improve muscle mass and function.

Two-minute exercises can also benefit your cardiovascular health—reducing blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, and lowering blood sugar levels.

Try it for yourself and see how easy it is to get started on a path to better health. You don’t need to commit to a major workout regimen to see the benefits. Just a couple of minutes of movement can make a big difference.