Fitness Articles

Give Your Workout a SparkStart

5-10 Minutes to Major Momentum


Can you relate to any of these scenarios?

Alice is feeling overwhelmed because she has a lot of weight to lose. She doesn’t know where to begin, so that frustration has prevented her from even starting an exercise program.

Sherry exercises for 30 minutes 3 times a week, but doesn’t feel like exercise is part of her daily routine. She’s looking to make it more of a habit.

Bill can’t seem to find the motivation to get started with a program. He doesn’t think exercise is really going to make him feel any different, so what’s the point?

Jane has decided to start an exercise program, so she goes to the gym two hours every day for a week. At the end of the week she is tired, sore and already burned out. She doesn’t make it to the gym again for several weeks.

These scenarios are all very common. Many people have problems developing a consistent exercise routine—whether they just don’t know where to begin, or don’t know how to make exercise as natural as brushing your teeth every morning. Still others just need a boost of motivation and energy now and then.

If finding the motivation to work out seems like a daunting task to you, here’s a great place to start: 5-10 minute "SparkStart" workouts! Although 5-10 minutes will not give you immediate weight loss results, it will help you develop a routine and a foundation to build on. Sometimes all you need is a push in the right direction!

A SparkStart gives Alice a very reasonable starting point. It helps Sherry stay consistent with her exercising throughout the week. Bill will notice he has more energy and feels better after his quick workout. And Jane will begin to change her "all or none" mentality and focus on small steps to develop a habit. So regardless of your current level of activity, a 5-10 minute SparkStart workout can be a great source of motivation and the "spark" you need to move your program into gear!

Here’s what SparkGuy (SparkPeople founder and C.E.O.) had to say about the 5-10 minute workout:

"You won’t immediately see big improvements from this, BUT it will help you turn exercise into a habit so that you don't need to keep going through the frustration of starting over. After doing this consistently for awhile, you'll start noticing small improvements that will motivate you to do even more - and your energy level will slowly start to increase. I've seen people get incredible results using this method."

SparkStart workouts include easy exercises you can do at home when you get up in the morning, while you’re making dinner, or while waiting for the laundry to finish drying. Pick something you enjoy so you are more likely to stick with it. Below are some examples to help get you started. All of these workouts can be modified depending on your fitness level and time available.

  • Workout 1: Light jog in place (2 minutes), jump rope (2 minutes), light jog (2 minutes)
  • Workout 2: Sit-ups (2 minutes), 25 push-ups, sit-ups (2 minutes), 25 push-ups
  • Workout 3: Light jog in place (2 minutes), 1 set squats (8-12 repetitions), 1 set lunges, 1 set squats, 1 set lunges, leg stretches (2 minutes)
  • Workout 4: Take your dog (or just yourself!) for a quick walk around the block
  • Workout 5: Walk/run up and down the stairs 5 times
  • Workout 6: Brisk walk in place with arms pumping, knees up (3 minutes), 25 jumping jacks, brisk walk (3 minutes)
  • Workout 7: Light jog in place (2 minutes), fast jog in place (5 minutes), light jog in place (2 minutes)

More examples of strength training exercises and stretches can be found in the Fitness Resource Center .

To give yourself a real boost, start an exercise "streak". Do some sort of activity every day (could be 5 minutes, could be longer) for as many consecutive days as possible. Challenge your family members or co-workers to see who can carry the longest streak! Post the number of days in your streak on your office wall or refrigerator door. It’s a good source of motivation and a great way to keep exercise in the front of your mind!

So are you up for the challenge? Are you ready to "spark" your workout? There’s no time like the present, so get started today!

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Member Comments

  • Good advice, great comments!! Worth the commitments
  • Creating new goals,
  • Walnuts contain twice as many antioxidants as peanuts, almonds, pecans, and pistachios.
  • I have been doing very well at challenging myself, but I want to build up on more cardio and strengthening. I did twenty minutes of switching cardio and strengthening, when I felt I was ready to follow an exercise video with the stability ball. She did a three minute warm up and then stability ball exercises, ten minutes into it, I am on the floor my head and back are aching. Why do I have to start small, I let myself get here, but I am ready to push myself hard to build up my core again.
  • It's so easy to do the 10 mins. And very often it challenges me to keep going a little bit longer. Good tip!
  • I'm on a pretty good streak of working out almost everyday as I found it helps my joints and body aches to warm them up by sweating. A nice 20minute soak in an epsom salt bath after a days workout is my reward for sore muscles. I just set the timer on my iPad under Clock for the 20 minutes and don't get out before then. I'm washing sweaty workout clothes daily and going through so much epsom salt a week!
  • For me the Power of 10 mentality works once I get the first 10-15 completed I am ready to keep going !
  • I like the 10 minute rule, easy to fit in different parts of the day.
  • Thanks for the t
  • DARDEB2151
    The article was so motivating to me...getting out of bed now to start my 10 mins.
    Thanks so much!
  • Great advice. I just love it! I am revamping my exercises again and this fits right in! Thank you so much!!!
  • I'm a big advocate of "Just 10 Minutes a Day". When I began this, I most always did 30, but I knew I didn't have to feel guilty if I stopped at 10. This kept my motivation up. Within 2 or 3 weeks, my energy level was up and I was HOOKED.
  • Best to listen to your body, some times that spark just isn't there. You can feel it wit the first exercise, do not push yourself, there's always another day, however.
    This is for anyone that is not seeing results, the elderly that just is having a hard time getting started.
    I have found that anyone IMO can attain results if they do their best. I am in my late 70's, have been weight training for a while. I have increased strength, staminal, and muscle size by doing a regimented exercise program.
    Increase weight after each set, then decrease weight in the latter sets, works for me, also slow lifts, up and down also accelerates results, my shirts are tighter, not from my gut, but from my shoulders, no brag, just the fact that muscles can grow at any age.
  • This works! When I started FIVE years ago my first focus was on eating healthy most of the time. Moving more was something I wanted to do but couldn't see how I'd fit in a 60 minute workout. So I started taking a 10 min walk before I left for work. then I added a 10 min walk after lunch. Eventually bought a pedometer and got up to 10,000 steps/day and if I walked briskly for at least 10 mins it would track "aerobic minutes" and I ended up getting at least 60 of those each day.
  • Is there a way to set up the meal plan for a vegetarian?

About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

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