Two Minutes of Exercise a Day Can Keep the Pain Away

DENVER – As little as two minutes of exercise a day can reduce pain and tenderness in adults with neck and shoulder problems, according to research being presented today at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine and 2nd World Congress on Exercise is Medicine®.

In this study, a team at the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, Denmark measured neck and shoulder pain and muscle strength in 198 office workers. Participants were either assigned to groups performing two or 12 minutes of exercise per day, five times per week, or to a control group getting no exercise.

After ten weeks, the two-minutes-per-day exercise group experienced significant reductions of neck and should pain (decreased 1.4 points out of ten) and tenderness (decreased 4.2 points out of 32). The 12-minutes-per-day exercise group had slightly larger reductions in pain and tenderness, an extra .5 and .2 points respectively, but these additional gains were not significant.

“Regular physical activity is the cornerstone of many rehabilitation programs, but many people struggle to adhere to their exercise routines,” said Lars Andersen, Ph.D., lead author of this study. “If people can achieve significant benefits in less time, they’ll be more likely to start and stick with their exercise regimen.”

Muscle strength improved by approximately six percent in both two- and 12-minute exercisers.

“These results are a welcome indication that quality counts over quantity in exercise,” said Andersen. “For adults suffering from frequent neck and shoulder pain, as little as two minutes a day of daily progressive resistance exercise can result in clinically relevant pain reductions.”


The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 45,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine. Research highlighted in this news release has been presented at a professional meeting but has not been peer-reviewed.