When you think of exercise, you probably think of spending hours at the gym or running miles through your neighborhood. Since many people are not able to devote large blocks of time to a fitness program, they often just head to the couch.
But even spending 10 minutes exercising can make an impact on your waistline, your energy level and your health.
Next time you don’t have time to make it to your favorite Pilates class, try one of these 10 minutes workouts.
Head for the Stairs
While using the stairs is common advice for burning extra calories, you can take it a step further by running stairs for 10 minutes.
Sounds easy? It’s not.
Put on your athletic shoes, set the timer for 10 minutes and run up and down the stairs at a moderate pace. One of the benefits of using stairs for exercise is that you are building muscle and raising your heart rate significantly at the same time.
A fun way to involve your kids is to have them challenge you to run a certain number of flights and let them count off each flight when you make it to the top.
Add a Power Walk to Your Lunch Break
Instead of heading to the local burger joint for lunch, pack a lunch and spend the last 10 minutes of your lunch hour walking. If you work in a large office complex, you can power walk through the halls or head outside for a change of scenery. To keep your mind off exercising, ask a co-worker to join you.
Instead of Reaching for the Chips, Hit the Floor for Push-ups
“Attach simple exercise to habits you are trying to break and dedicate yourself to doing the exercise in the place of that activity when you get the urge,” said Jared Meacham, a fitness lifestyle design coach and founder of jaredmeacham.com. Some good exercises you can do in your living room are push-ups, squats, and lunges.
Give yourself a goal for each set and try to increase the intensity each day. He also said that you can use this same strategy for other unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking.
Get Your Feet Moving During Commercials
Next time you are watching your favorite show, don’t fast-forward through the commercial, exercise through them instead. Meacham suggests having a few short workouts that involve little or no equipment ready to go, such jumping jacks or sit ups. You can also move your treadmill in front of the television set and run or walk during the break. Next time a commercial starts, push yourself to exercise as much as you can until the show returns.
“By the time your average TV program ends, you’ve already accumulated 10-20 minutes of exercise using time you would have normally spent eating or clicking through the channels,” says Meacham.
Each week, try to add another 10 minute workout to your day. You will be surprised at the benefits that you see from short bursts of sustained exercise.
No matter how busy your day is, odds are you can find 10 minutes to devote to improving your health.