Micro-Workouts for Improved Fitness and Conditioning

by Bobby Rock

A Micro-Workout is only 5 to 15 minutes and typically very easy. It’s actually meant to be a once-or-twice daily supplement to your regular regimen, whatever that may be. Here’s the rundown:

Most of us are leading dangerously sedentary lives … especially since Covid, but mainly over the digital tech explosion of the last 10 to 15 years. We are spending a lot of time idle each day, looking at our devices.  So even if you were to work out for an hour a day—which is excellent—what happens for the other 23? We are sitting around, and that's a lot of "downtime." Not so excellent. 

Our bodies are meant to be active, every day, pretty much throughout the day. Our muscles (and bones!) need to stay limber and supple through movement. When we are inactive, especially while sitting, muscles begin to tighten up, and this sets off a domino effect of connecting muscle groups contracting, which can eventually lead to all kinds of issues, from soreness in the back or neck (from tight muscles pulling bones out of alignment) to “mystery” injuries that can occur from, for example, picking up a bag of groceries at just the right angle that something tweaks. And this is to say nothing about other systems in the body (like respiratory and digestive) that rely on some form of sustained movement to help things function optimally. 

Knocking out some planks for a "Micro" on a nasty-ass carpet at the rehearsal hall!

Granted, you will not likely get a ton of notable conditioning out of an individual Micro-Workout, because they are short in duration and not particularly intense. But, remember, these are mainly about keeping the body limber and active between workouts. And they are also great for recovery some 4 to 8 hours after a tough workout, since they typically promote blood flow and light flexibility.

So… here are a few Micro-Workout considerations:

  1. Spread It Out: Ideally, you would integrate a Micro-Workout into your routine at opposite times of the day from when you might work out. If you do cardio in the AM, maybe you do a Micro in the evening before dinner.  Or if you like to train in the afternoon, consider doing a quick cardio thing (like a brisk walk) first thing in the AM, or maybe some light stretching before bed.

  2. Make It Easy: You can sneak in a “Micro” while doing other things. If you’re on the phone or watching TV, for example, just stand up and do some light calisthenic-type movements for 5 to 15 minutes.

  3. Mix It Up: A Micro can consist of any combination of resistance training, calisthenics, cardio, stretching, “grinding” on a foam roller, or any kind of warm-up style exercise. Just think about creating movement.  And if you want to do some stretching, avoid stretching cold muscles. Warm-up for at least 5 minutes first.

  4. Ease Back In: And finally, if you are currently out of the groove of working out, Micro-Workouts are actually a great way to ease back into some training. In your case, you would simply do the opposite of what I’m suggesting here: Try to work in a super-short Micro here and there, and then eventually find larger windows of time to fit in more conventional workouts… but keep those Micros going!

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