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Can I still lose weight if I split my workouts throughout the day?

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Updated January 16, 2007

Question: Can I still lose weight if I split my workouts throughout the day?
Answer: Many studies have found that short bouts of exercise throughout the day have the same benefits as continuous workouts. In one study, experts compared different groups of exercisers:
  • Non-exercisers
  • Exercisers doing two 15-minute workouts
  • Exercisers doing one 30-minute workout, and
  • Exercisers doing three 10-minute workouts
The conclusion? All the exercisers lost weight and increased endurance regardless of which group they were in. The only group who didn't see any changes was the non-exercising group.

If you're short on time and it works better for you to split your routine into several short workouts throughout the day, don't worry that you won't burn as many calories or get good results. The key is to find a schedule that works for you. The only time to worry about continuous exercise versus short bouts of exercise is if you're training for a specific competition or sport where you may need continuous exercise to prepare your body.

If you need some ideas, check out these short workouts for quick, effective ways to work your body in less time:

Resources

Jakicic JM, Wing RR, Butler BA, Robertson RJ. Prescribing exercise in multiple short bouts versus one continuous bout: effects on adherence, cardiorespiratory fitness, and weight loss in overweight women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1995 Dec;19(12):893-901.

Schmidt WD, Biwer CJ, Kalscheuer LK. Effects of long versus short bout exercise on fitness and weight loss in overweight females. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Oct;20(5):494-501.

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