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8 Side Effects of Exercising Just 30 Minutes a Day

A fitness pro shares the best benefits of adding a 30-minute workout break to your day.

How many productive things can you actually get done in 30 minutes a day? You can maybe get some laundry crossed off your to-do list, pay a few bills, or empty the dishwasher. But if you really want to spend your time wisely on something that'll make you feel both invigorated and healthy, listen up. We're here to share some of the best side effects of exercising just 30 minutes a day.

Carving out this essential "me time" is a lifestyle habit most of us shouldn't live without. We spoke with Ellen Thompson, CPT, Blink Fitness, who reveals the benefits of adding a half-hour exercise break to your day. Plus, science backs this up. According to researchers at the University of Copenhagen, 30 minutes of working out daily can be just as effective in losing weight and body mass as working out for an entire hour.

"On average, the men who exercised 30 minutes a day lost 3.6 kilo in three months, while those who exercised for a whole hour only lost 2.7 kg. The reduction in body mass was about 4 kg for both groups," Mads Rosenkilde, PhD student, Department of Biomedical Sciences, explained.

So if you're ready to give your daily routine an upgrade, keep reading to learn all about the side effects of exercising for 30 minutes. And when you're finished. be sure to check out these 12 Essential Rules To Get Back Into Shape After a Long Break.

Better cardiovascular health

heart health concept

It's generally recommended by the American Heart Association to exercise at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes, five days a week, in order to avoid cardiovascular disease (CVD). What's more, Thompson tells us, "Regular exercise strengthens the heart and improves circulation. This leads to a reduced risk of heart disease and other degenerative cardiovascular conditions."

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Weight management

scale weight loss concept, weight loss mistakes

Keeping active is helpful in torching calories and sculpting lean muscle mass, both of which help with weight loss and weight management, Thompson explains. The University of Copenhagen's study, which was discussed earlier, resulted in a loss of approximately eight pounds over a three-month timeframe for men who exercised just 30 minutes a day.

Improved flexibility and muscle strength

woman stretching indoors, concept of weight loss habits

Thompson explains, "Generally speaking, exercise helps build muscle strength and improve flexibility, both important for overall mobility." So it should come as no surprise that adding just 30 minutes of physical activity to your day can boost your chances of increasing muscular strength and flexibility.

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Reduced stress and elevated mood

happy mature woman walking on boardwalk by the ocean, concept of tips to live longer

Have you ever wondered why you feel so much better after a workout? It's not just feeling proud of yourself because you exercised. "Exercise releases endorphins, which are the body's natural feel-good hormones," Thompson says.

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Enhanced quality of sleep

woman sleeping peacefully in bed

When it comes to exercise, you really don't have to push yourself too hard. In fact, according to the Sleep Foundation, moderately exercising for 30 minutes a day can lower anxiety and give you some restful shuteye. "Regular physical activity can improve the quality of sleep as it helps to regulate sleep patterns, and promotes a deeper sleep," Thompson adds. "This can lead to increased energy levels throughout the day."

Boosted immunity

woman running in the snow to get rid of holiday weight gain

You'll get a nice little immunity boost when engaging in physical activity for 30 minutes. "Regular exercise has been linked to a strengthened immune system, which can help the body fight off illness and infections more effectively," Thompson explains.

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Sharpened cognitive function

fit woman thinking, meditating on beach

Plain and simple, exercising is good for your brain, too. In fact, Thompson tells us, "Exercise has been shown to protect against age-related declines in mental abilities (i.e. helps improve memory, attention and the ability to learn new things.)"

Better bone health

Strong Bones

No matter your fitness goal, a healthy exercise regimen should include a solid balance of both cardio and strength exercises. "Weight-bearing exercises, like walking and resistance training, help build and maintain bone density which is crucial for preventing osteoporosis and fractures as we age," says Thompson.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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