Fitness Articles

Small Bits of Fitness Add Up

Exercise Comes in All Shapes and Sizes


"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 one to two minutes to warm up and get the muscles ready, including stretching. Follow with at least seven 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.

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Page 1 of 1  
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

Member Comments

  • Multiple 10 minutes is about all my arthritic can deal with. After 10 minutes, my hips and knees are very painful and I have to stop anyway.
  • Good morning everyone - up for hours but a little late signing on. The idea of a 10 minute workout goes all the way back to when people got 15 minute breaks in the morning and afternoon. If you do something small - i.e., I walked my dog this morning - 10 minutes over before I knew it. If you take a coffee break and leave the office you can walk to your coffee shop. Don't leave the building? Do 10 minutes of isometrics when you get home. And take a short walk before dinner. If you don't work, chart a 1/3-1/2 mile walk - perhaps around the block. But my favorite since retiring - walking the circumference of the grocery store - but only eye buying not stopping. You pass the healhiest foods (produce, meats, dairy) that way. Then walk up and down every aisle. But no samples :-) I can easily spend 1/2 hour - just doing the eye buying and then I can do my actual shopping quickly. It works. It really does and since I've been wobbly I've also noticed that pushing the cart gives me a little more speed in the first half and then I'm ready to pick things up. I started to do this on rainy or snowy days in Virginia. Then I did it when it was too hot - I was always a multi-tasker and I find doing this I don't even think about it being "exercise" - Cheers
  • I believe in these 10 minute routines.
  • The title says 10 minutes a day, but the article talks about three 10-minute sessions a day. I'm confused.
    I wish this article were true. I have been recently diagnosed with diabetes and started battling my blood sugar levels with a low carb diet and exercising. I unfortunately did not achieve results until I started serious exercise. You know, that kind that makes you sweat and cry and where you hurt from sore muscles everyday. I currently workout for hour long periods most days of the week because I have no choice. If I don't do that, my sugar levels spike up and stay up. Real and tough exercise is what is really going to make the difference in your blood sugar levels, not 20 little minutes a day broken up into segments. I'm not saying people shouldn't do that, as any exercise is better than none, but if you want real results you're going to have to work hard. Sorry for the brutal truth.
    I have a knee injury so I am just doing a short 10 minute gently walk instead of regular exercise.
  • I have to say that the 10 minute fitness is liberating. I have been doing care taking and now am desk bound trying to catch up on 6 months of work, but I started doing alternating knee lifts marching while sitting at my chair, followed by kicks. I do it while I am typing on Sparkpeople and find my muscles get a real work out. I can do the arms later, but the legs I do while I am using the site.
    MARTHA324 - I love Non-Smoking breaks! We have a great concourse on the first level of our building that's perfect for a quick 10 in the afternoon.

    When I re-committed myself to my health this year, I started with 10 minute workouts. It wasn't long before I realized I wanted more and usually get 15-20 now. Won't be long before it goes up to 30.

    I also made a schedule breaking my 10,000 steps into hourly increments (about 714 steps per hour). If the next hour is approaching and I haven't reach my goal, I get up and take a stroll around the office.
  • Enjoyed the article and discovered that I had indeed get squats, lunges, presses and stretching accomplished yesterday and this morning in packing and moving bins and boxes for moving. House work with a different purpose, helps form habits.
  • Reading the comments by other members is a real motivator for me. I am determined to make a better effort EVERY DAY!
  • this really works. When I committed to getting healthy I focused first on my eating and then on moving. I worked up to getting 10,000 steps and did in 10 min chunks during the day. Figured if smokers could take a smoking break, I could take a walking break. It all adds up.
  • I am glad to see this article. I am making a plan to exercise 10 minutes 3 or 4 times a day. After being ill for a long time, I don't have much stamina, but I feel energized today. I am feeling better day by day.10 minutes is a good place to start. Last night I worked on doing 15 minutes and I was very worn out and needed to lay down, 10 would have been much better. Thank You for this good information.

    Read this article about 10 mins and got off my butt and did MY 10 mins!!! 10 mins seemed longggg... With just stretches and warm up exercises I bust a sweat! My "today" just started! My next 10 mins, after lunch... Actually, I'm gonna dance while cooking!!! Music on!!!
  • When did they come out with this plan of action. In the Service Training Manual that would have been an issue, BIG TIME! Things change-- at this age to try and do what I used to do would probably kill me though. LOL! Interesting concept at least I'm still moving.

About The Author

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

x Lose 10 Pounds by May 9! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.