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 I’m so busy with other things that putting in an hour at the gym just isn’t feasible. On days that I’m 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 I’ll 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 don’t consider 10 minutes to be “skipping out,” so when I do a short workout like this, I’m 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. It’s 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 there’s 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, I’d 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. You’ll still feel a sense of accomplishment—and 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 you’d rather not exercise, commit to 10 minutes. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel (and how much more you’ll likely work out) when you follow through!

Are 10-minute workouts part of your fitness program? What else helps you stay consistent when you don’t feel like exercising?

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PATRICIAANN46 2/9/2021
Thank You................. Report
LABLUE788 10/1/2020
I did not realize it but I Committed to walking 10 minutes a day and it has blossomed into 20 minutes a day and I’ve even want the extra five or 10 minutes on occasion but that is exactly how I had to start with just 10 minutes LOL great article Report
PWILLOW1 5/1/2020
Great article. Thank you. Report
NENEBFIT 4/7/2020
What surprises me is how many times I read that even fit people struggle to get started on their exercise. Ten minutes is right up my alley! Report
Great idea. Report
Great tips ... thanks for sharing. Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
I actually did this today. I had an power outage and the silence kept me up all night. So, I thought “hopefully the gym has electricity and I’ll just run up there for about 15 mins” I got there did 15 mins of core work and talked myself into a run on the treadmill for 20 mins lol. So this really works Report
It's much easier to talk myself into ten minutes than into an hour or more. Report
Great post thank you Report
10 minutes I can do! Report
i LOVE tricking my brain into healthy goodness!
my plan b is 10 modified stair pushups ! Report
Very encouraging. Maybe I'll even do it today. :) Report
I appreciate having all this information at our finger tips. I'm very thankful that it is free, Good articles.

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. Report
I will now try to do at least 10 mins of activity daily. But the more the better of course. Report
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. Report
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 Report
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! Report
Wonderful tip. It is true that once you get started you are very likely to continue. Report
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!!!! Report
I always do that, Report
OK, OK, I *will* go on my run tonight. Happy now? :) Report
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." Report
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. Report
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. Report
Excellent idea! Report
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! Report
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. Report
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. Report
Great article. Great way to start Report
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. Report
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 Report
Good idea. Report
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! Report
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! Report
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. Report
10 minutes - I think I could do that. Baby steps! Report
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! Report
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. Report
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! Report
"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. Report
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! Report
yes I do the 10 mins program, and I do all Coach Nicole Boot Camps. Report
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... :-) Report
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! Report
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....... Report
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. Report
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! Report
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. Report