Habits of Fit People: Commit to Just 10 Minutes


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

You want to be a fit person, right? That's why I'm sharing my own habits for keeping fit and staying healthy in the ongoing Habits of Fit People series.

Here's one that works for me: Commit to just 10 minutes. So why does something like this matter?

This is one of my best secrets to exercising regularly. Believe it or not, I struggle with working out just like anyone else. There are days that I feel lazy, tired, or like I'd rather sit on the couch than hit the gym. And then there are other times when Iím so busy with other things that putting in an hour at the gym just isnít feasible. On days that Iím busy or just not feeling it, I promise myself that I'll do just 10 minutes of exercise. The way I see it, 10 minutes is better than nothing at all and it DOES count for something. Plus, I know that Iíll feel worse if I skipped out from exercise entirely than if I did a little bit.

Why it works: For one, committing to 10 minutes each day (or most days) keeps you in the habit of exercising regularly. It keeps fitness on your mind and gets your body moving. One skipped workout can easily turn into two, three or even seven sedentary days, am I right? But I donít consider 10 minutes to be ďskipping out,Ē so when I do a short workout like this, Iím more likely to keep up with my plans the following days.

Another reason it works? For most people, including myself, starting is half the battle. Once I get moving for a few minutes, I remember how good it feels, why I choose to make exercise a part of my life, and what my goals are. Itís truly motivating! You will feel accomplished if you do just 10 minutes of exercise (as opposed to feeling like a failure if you did nothing).

But thereís an even bigger payoff to keeping this habit. When you feel less-than-enthusiastic about exercising, 30, 45, or 60 minutes seems really overwhelming. But 10 minutes sounds reasonable. If you tell yourself that you have to put in10 minutes, after which you can stop if you choose, you'll still be more likely to continue with a longer workout. When I change my clothes and get going, 10 minutes flies by. And more often than not, I decide to do a longer or full-length workout after all. If I forced myself into an hour-long workout every day, Iíd probably be on the couch most of the time. But when my mindset is 10 minutes, it seems doable.

In the end, committing to 10 minutes of exercise is something that even the busiest of people can do. Youíll still feel a sense of accomplishmentóand a lot less guilty than if you would have taken the whole day off. I know it seems like a small thing, but try it yourself. The next time youíd rather not exercise, commit to 10 minutes. Youíll be surprised at how much better youíll feel (and how much more youíll likely work out) when you follow through!

Are 10-minute workouts part of your fitness program? What else helps you stay consistent when you donít feel like exercising?

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  • 138
    i LOVE tricking my brain into healthy goodness!
    my plan b is 10 modified stair pushups ! - 1/27/2017   1:40:42 PM
  • 137
    Very encouraging. Maybe I'll even do it today. :) - 7/16/2016   2:23:34 PM
  • 136
    I appreciate having all this information at our finger tips. I'm very thankful that it is free, Good articles.

    - 9/28/2015   11:15:35 PM
  • 135
    So true. No matter what I get at eat 10 mins/day and most times when I start out thinking "it's only 10 minutes" I end up doing more. - 4/25/2015   9:56:24 PM
    I will now try to do at least 10 mins of activity daily. But the more the better of course. - 12/2/2013   7:29:46 PM
  • 133
    When I was living in an apartment building I did the back stair well. Usually unused, very safe and relatively warm compaired to winter temps outside. It wouldn't pester my wife either. - 11/5/2013   2:56:36 AM
  • 132
    10 min would be doable for me but i am not sure what i can do for 10min that would make a difference any ideas - 1/30/2013   5:38:19 PM
  • 131
    I defnitely need to do my 10 minutes tonight. I keep wanting to put it off and do something (anything) else instead but liek you said I know once I get started I'll probably work out for longer and I always feel better afterwards.

    Plus I'm sure my flatmate can put up with me stomping about for 10 minutes! - 10/26/2012   11:00:29 AM
  • 130
    Wonderful tip. It is true that once you get started you are very likely to continue. - 6/28/2012   1:15:29 PM
  • 129
    I always play "mind games" as I call them. In the morning I tell myself that I'll just get out and run for a couple of miles but end up running for 5. Same with strength training. I opt for just one video workout with Nicole :) and end up doing 3 10min workouts. Keep lying to yourself!!! It works!!!! - 3/7/2012   8:48:02 AM
  • 128
    I always do that, - 2/27/2012   5:12:39 AM
  • 127
    OK, OK, I *will* go on my run tonight. Happy now? :) - 10/6/2011   9:36:29 PM
  • 126
    Tricks of the trade that I really need right now. So often I think that if I can't do 45-60 minutes of something at a clip, I'm not doing anything worthwhile. And like many here have said, I'm sure once I get my body moving with 10 minutes in mind, it will extend into more time. It is the getting moving part that is the hardest. Once started, it feels good, and I'll go for more. Thanks for helping me correct that self talk that says," It's not worth doing if it is only for 10 minutes." - 7/8/2011   7:38:05 AM
    Yeah whenever I run, I always say I'm just going to do 10 mins but then I feel good & decide to continue for another 10 mins & so on. - 6/8/2011   1:44:10 PM
  • 124
    It has only been a few days but I have to tell you this works for me. I haven't exercised in years and this has helped me to get up and move. As others have said, anyone can do 10 minutes, which usually turns into more. This is a good idea. - 4/21/2011   10:11:27 PM
  • 123
    Excellent idea! - 4/15/2011   5:31:23 PM
  • 122
    I love the idea! When I have those downer days or feel guilty about not getting a workout done in the morning, I am going to try the 10 minute workout. 10 minutes tonight.. :)

    10 minutes - guilt go away! - 4/15/2011   2:28:18 PM
  • 121
    I can always do 10 minutes, and about 80% of the time, I increase that 10 to 30 or 50, etc. If, after the 10 minutes is up, I want to stop, I do - guilt-free. - 3/8/2011   12:11:23 PM
    I must admit that when I don't do at least 20 minutes, I don't feel like I am doing enough. I know it is a little ridiculous as 10~minutes is WAY better than NO MINUTES. - 2/1/2011   10:19:32 AM
  • 119
    Great article. Great way to start - 11/28/2010   8:28:36 PM
  • 118
    10 minutes is usually a very reasonable amount of time to put in. During my favorite shows I will do what I refer to as "Commercio-lympics". Most shows will have at least 5-8 commercials lasting about 3-5 minutes each. I'll do leg lifts, or dumb bell presses. Before you know it, you've snuck in 15-20 minutes of exercise. - 11/17/2010   8:56:22 AM
  • 117
    Yup, true, when things get so hectic and I'm getting too lazy doing cardio workout, the 10-minute seems like a breeze, haha. It's more to trick myself to do workouts and usually it worked! Sometimes, I'll extend the workouts to 15 or 20 minutes whenever I have more time, especially when I come home earlier than expected. And I make sure I squeeze in some strength training, at least 2 sets (either same type or different). In short, I try to gain my goal of at least 3-time of cardio a week :D - 3/9/2010   7:42:47 PM
  • 116
    Good idea. - 1/31/2010   5:47:28 PM
    As simple as this sounds it really works! I've been doing this since 1/1/10. And though it's been only 16 days into the new year, I've had moments where I've just been exhausted and try to talk myself out of moving. Then I tell myself it's just 10 minutes. I then drag myself outside and start walking. (I've never walked less than 25 minutes.) Talk about setting yourself up for success. Before, if I didn't get in my 45 minutes I would beat myself up and give up for the day or week or... I just love this incredibly simple concept. Just wish I'd been doing this all along! - 1/16/2010   6:15:24 PM
  • 114
    I'm in so much pain these days with sciatica in my right back, hip and down to my calf...10 min even seems overwhelming...but it does keep me moving in spite of the pain and burning just a few calories if better than no calories (extra) at all! - 1/5/2010   1:05:33 AM
  • 113
    You just talked me into it. I am going to set a goal for myself to exercise 10 minutes every day for the rest of the year. - 12/19/2009   8:58:48 PM
  • 112
    10 minutes - I think I could do that. Baby steps! - 12/18/2009   6:48:01 PM
  • 111
    I set my computer to remind me every hour to stretch and do jumping jacks. Just get up and move around somehow, some way. 10 minutes is a piece of cake! - 8/26/2009   12:04:04 PM
  • 110
    I have become quite busy since school started. I know it has only been a few days now but with running my one daughter to school, up from practice, to scrimmages I just don't seem to have much time left. I didn't get a workout in yesterday and did feel bad about that. I just couldn't squeeze anything in last night. Tonight I will make up for it but my goal is to get atleast 10-15 min workout in when I am running around. - 8/26/2009   11:52:29 AM
  • 109
    so true, if I think ten minutes? I can do that, then when I listen to my music and I like the next music that comes on I go ahead and 'extend' my workout for the span of the music then if I like the next one too then I'll have another 'extension'. So I make sure I love all the songs on my playlist then I commit to ten minutes which really just flies by when I enjoy! - 8/24/2009   11:48:39 AM
  • 108
    "Just do 10 minutes" has been my mantra for most of my life - this has enabled me to overcome lifes depressing moments and to complete many projects epecially the ones I have procrastinated over ... over the last wee while I have forgotten this. I used to write (with a whiteboard marker) "10 minutes" on every mirror and shiny surface in the house and it was enough of a gentle reminder to allow me to re-focus in a positive and happy manner. Thank you, my mission this afternoon is to make this happen again. - 7/4/2009   11:57:11 PM
  • 107
    I commit to 10 minutes -- in 5 minute chunks! When I'm not able to go to the gym, I take 5 minute breaks at work and walk the steps while wearing my iPod, or I walk around the parking lot at a fast pace. I do two 5-minute walks or stair-climbs, and I'm done for the day! - 5/15/2009   7:59:47 AM
  • 106
    yes I do the 10 mins program, and I do all Coach Nicole Boot Camps. - 5/10/2009   7:01:42 PM
    I do this too! It really works. When I was a student I used to do it when I found myself procrastinating, but it didn't work as well. Turns out that working out is more enjoyable than studying... :-) - 4/15/2009   9:02:07 AM
  • 104
    I have to admit that it is actually easier for me not to do the 10 minute workouts. I am able to get more done without interruptions from my family if I am doing a "bigger" chunk of time to exercise. I have tried the 10 minutes, and it does not work for me. (Makes me glad we are all different.) My boys are slowly learning that if Mommy is exercising, then to leave her alone, and go play! - 4/13/2009   12:30:57 PM
  • BMORE73
    My workouts are planned by the week. If I am not in the mood one day out of the week, I relax and do it on my off day. If my off day has already passed, I will add a little extra on another day. I don't trip because I decided with this being a lifestyle change, one day is not going to ruin my life. I keep it moving....... - 4/12/2009   8:25:29 PM
    I don't have a problem working out Monday - Friday, but it's the weekend that get me in trouble. I think if I adopt your 10 minute idea and apply it to my weekends that will be a great challenge for me. - 4/11/2009   10:52:30 AM
    Hi, I'm new to this and really struggling with the exercising - as from Monday I'm going to start trying your 10 minute tip. I think it might actually work for me! - 3/7/2009   4:42:47 PM
  • 100
    I agree. Some of my DVD's are broken down into four ten minute routines. I can do them whenever I get a chance. For the most part I do at least 20 mins at one time. Many times at the end of the day I have 120 mins of exercise. Makes it easy. I've found as soon as I wake up if I get in 20 mins makes the day start off on a good foot. Energy and I remember to eat right. - 3/4/2009   6:17:51 PM
    As a teacher, I don't always have a lot of time during my day, but if I take 10 minutes out of my planning period, it's just enough to get my blood moving and I feel like I'm actually doing something. Plus, if no one bothers me during that first 10 minutes, I usually keep going, and sometimes end up getting in all 30 minutes of my exercise right then. If I'm not so lucky, and 10 minutes is all I can get in during school, I'm more motivated when i get home because then I just need 20 minutes on the bike to reach the rest of my goal. But again, I find that once I get riding, I forget about the clock and often times 40+ minutes have gone by before I realize what I'm doing. I use the 10 minute work out as my motivation to do more when I have more time. It seems to work for me. - 2/13/2009   11:55:44 AM
  • 98
    I close my office door and take a couple of 5 minute breaks throughout the day to stretch, do a few push ups, do yoga,use the bands, etc. It refreshes my mind, improves my posture, keeps me limber and relieves stress. - 2/12/2009   12:55:46 PM
  • 97
    I have experienced this while doing the New YOU Bootcamp! Now, that it is over, I still keep doing those short videos and when they are less than 10 minutes, I just double the workout! Thank you Coach Nicole, for planting that little ST seed into my head. ♥ I think it is growing! - 2/4/2009   10:24:47 AM
  • JENNY501
    Great goal.Easy to do.then maybe get even more in.need all the help i can get.thanks - 1/19/2009   6:04:44 PM
  • 95
    This is one of my favorite tricks - it really works! - 1/16/2009   2:19:28 PM
    Good Morning, Nicole! I am ALWAYS impressed with your coaching! I love how you break it down in 'bite size' proportions for me. I know you teach a lot of advanced exercise too, but you really take the time out to teach basic beginners (like me) the correct ways to stretch, and give GREAT ideas for making my life changes in 'do-able' steps. Yesterday, I didn't want to walk, but I ran (more like hobbled, LOL!) up-down, up-down, up the stairs for 12 minutes. Later, I went to YouTube and played some 'happy tunes' and danced for about 20 minutes. Just wanted to POP IN to tell you how much I appreciate you!! Annie - 1/14/2009   8:10:28 AM
  • 93
    I heard somewhere that doing 10 minutes 3x a day is as good at 30 minutes at one time. 10 minutes is totally manageable. - 12/20/2008   10:45:48 AM
  • 92
    10 mins is totally doable. Today for instance, I work in the Acct'ing dept and since its almost yr end, its getting pretty crazy in my dept. Well, the thought of going to the gym earlier today was all I could think about to burn off some steam. As the day progressed, the thought of hitting the gym rather than my couch didn't seem all that appealing but I went anyway. 35 mins and 340.1 cals later, I am so happy that I pushed myself and burned off not only steam but cals as well. - 12/3/2008   7:27:32 PM
  • 91
    When I do stepups at home, I watch music vids with women with fab legs in them, that motivates me! The feeling when I can run to catch up with my kids and not puff motivates me. Fitting into cute clothes motivates me...shallow I know, but it works for me. - 12/3/2008   7:07:56 PM
  • 90
    They aren't right now. But i think I'm going start them tomorrow for sure. - 11/26/2008   11:53:41 PM
  • 89
    This is a wonderful suggestion. Tried it this morning, before I even found this blog and it works wonders. I am thinking about breaking up my daily exercise into short 10 mins spurts. - 11/25/2008   6:48:23 AM

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