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Fitness Articles

Small Bits of Fitness Add Up

Exercise Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

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"Where did the day go?"

Is this a common question in your life? Many of us jam-pack so much stuff into our daily routines, seemingly there’s no time to relax for just one minute, let alone exercise. Lack of time is one of the most common excuses for not having a decent fitness regimen. But do you realize that in the time it might take you to go through your e-mail, you could fit in a good workout? We’re not talking about giving up 60 minutes either; all you need is 10.

Just 10?
Forget the "all or nothing" mentality when it comes to exercise. Fitness does not live or die by 60-minute workouts; there is middle ground. Short spurts of exercise, when they accumulate, have been shown to share similar benefits of longer workouts.

Your body will reap numerous benefits just by becoming more active. This approach is perfect for times when you don’t have time for a regular workout, or when you want to start off slowly and build up a routine.

Easier Than You Think
Treat these 10 minutes like you would a regular workout. Take 1-2 minutes to warm up and get the muscles ready, including stretching. Follow with at least 7 minutes of exercise at a medium or high intensity. Then make sure to include a 60-second cool down.

Since it’s brief, it’s important to work at a fairly high intensity to obtain all of the benefits. Work at raising your heart and respiration rates. Just like regular workouts, try to include cardio, strength training and flexibility work in your shortened routine. Either knock out all three during the 10 minutes, or plan a 10-minute segment for each area.

Example: Push out 10 cardio minutes on the stationary bike. For strength, do push-ups, wall sits, or lift dumbbells. For flexibility, it’s helpful to just stretch every day. Work different muscle groups and keep it simple. After 10 minutes, you will feel healthier and be on your way to developing solid fitness habits.

But I Still Don’t Have Time
It only takes 30 minutes a day, broken up into manageable chunks of 10. Start with a quick exercise when you wake up. The second session? A lunch break is possibly the perfect time to re-energize and get the blood flowing again. The last 10-minute blitz could come in the evening, even while you are watching TV. It’s an ideal way to involve the family as well. Go for a power walk after dinner with your spouse or ride bikes with the kids.

It is all about convenience; if you try, you can fit exercise into your schedule no matter where you are. Do it at home or at work, outside or in the living room. Start building exercise spurts into your daily routine and you’ll start feeling better.

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About The Author

Liz Noelcke Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.

Member Comments

  • PAMER66
    I try to do a 45 minute treadmill exercise three times a week & a 30 minute stationery bicycle 3 times a week to keep my quads strong enough to do my treadmill exercising. I also have a number of PT exercises that I need to do ore often. I do exercise whenever I can depending on what my day looks like. I'm retired but fairly busy with family & friends as well as a meditation mindfulness class. - 10/4/2014 12:32:02 PM
  • i cant work out long and mostly in a chair, somehow i didnt realize you could break it down into 5-10 min periods. I CAN DO THAT - 2/27/2014 12:30:21 PM
  • I get in at least 60 mins per day of exercise with a maximum of 90 mins when my schedule permits. This is a good article read, especially for those who are strapped for time, or just getting back on track with fitness and diet. I too used to be one of those people who had a VERY tedious schedule with little time to dedicate to my health. Now my health is made priority and exercising has become my new way of life. My advice is to Start small and build upon that! - 11/6/2013 10:12:27 PM
  • MHOGAN6
    Count me in for the November challenge - 11/1/2013 3:53:45 PM
  • I get my hour and fifty minutes in everyday. Love it. - 10/10/2013 8:43:35 PM
  • FABIENG
    They are many tips and videos on this site. Have you ever heard about kettlebell ? And what o you think about that fitness tool ? - 4/14/2013 4:34:40 PM
  • I have just discovered 'Sparkpeople' & have finally decided to do something about my weight and lifestyle by making bite-size changes in my diet and my fitness. I have bought a Cross-Training machine and have for the past two day's literally forced myself to do 5 mns and I am now on my 3 day and getting into the habit of exercise.

    I am horrified though by how many calories I consume at breakfast! It's healthy but I need to watch the portion sizes. I am really feeling motivated by these pages and really want to give this my best shot! I am getting older now and really need to be more aware of my health... So here goes.. :-D - 3/23/2013 2:15:14 AM
  • This is a fabulous article! Initially, it's hard to find strategies to fit in exercise but this article really has helped me find time in my schedule for fitness. 10 minute chunks are manageable, are better than nothing, and really do add up! - 3/20/2013 8:48:17 PM
  • I am only 2 days into the Spark program. I could not get motivated enough today to exercise. I work late so I will not do it after work either. I like the food tracker and did not realise how many calories were in a banana. I have sworn off that fruit for now. I will stick to grapefruit and an apple a day. I hope to get 10 minutes on the stepper in tomorrow. I must start slowly, in order to be motivated. - 3/7/2013 4:02:46 PM
  • I am tired of being tired. My starting point has been to play with the dog. She is a mad thing that will run like crazy in the park or just up and down the yard. I can walk the length of the verandah down five steps across the yard to the fence and back again, and cover about 60 metres. All the while I am talking to the dog and throwing her toy across the lawn or up the side by the verandah. We stop after about ten minutes for a drink, and do it again...do it again... do it again... I don't have to worry about being out in 'public'; I can stop whenever I need to and I know I am safe and weather protected... trying to focus on the fun is heaps good. - 2/28/2013 7:21:49 AM
  • I have let myself go to the point, I am worn out after five minutes. I don't feel like I am accomplishing anything and it gets depressing. i want more energy...I truly do.....grrrr.... - 12/27/2012 8:03:02 PM
  • Right now my left knee is giving me trouble and I can't walk very far or straighten out my leg. I bought an exercise bike that you can use with your arms, and vow to set it up by tomorrow so I will get some exercise in. - 12/24/2012 10:26:38 PM
  • It's easy if it's worth it. Do something during every commercial break besides a run to the fridge. Try running 30 seconds down the block and back. It all adds up to a healthier you. - 12/18/2012 11:03:09 PM
  • This Christmas season I am so busy, but really want to continue my weight loss. So I've been taking 5 minute breaks every hour, or as often as possible to jog or march in place. I set my timer and go. If I have time I go a little longer, but it's pretty easy to fit in 5 minutes. It's been working out great for me so far. Sometimes I even do 15 reps of bicep curls and other arm exercises with my hand weights when I pass them. It doesn't take long, but it keeps those muscles working and jump starts my metabolism. - 12/18/2012 3:41:01 PM
  • Totally agree. I bike 15 min to work, take 15-minute walks on my breaks, and 15 min ride home, that makes a whole hour every workday! - 12/18/2012 12:23:10 AM
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