Give Your Workout a SparkStart

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

Just adding a 10 minute walk before I left for work got my exercise routine started. Every little bit. helps! Report
Grear way to start the day. Report
Thank you! Report
I do SparkStarts while I'm brushing my teeth: Side Bends, and squats. Report
Definitely need to start a do over! Report
TOMATOCAFEGAL
Great article. 10 minutes is doable, and depending on your ability, lots of good suggestions here. Report
I will definitely be trying out these short workouts! Thanks for the TIP! Report
Great way to get motivated without feeling overwhelmed. Report
LADYMYCHEL160
What can I do if I can't do pushups? Report
TOMORROW-C
Can do, thanks! Report
Thank you Report
I can personally vouch for this approach. When I started to lose weight I started with 10 minute walk before I left for work. Gradually added a 10 min walk after lunch until I started wearing a pedometer about 6 months in and was getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic walking every day (usually broken into 2 or 3 chunks). It's now just something I do without thinking and actually get a lot more exercise now. Report
I have been using this 5-10 minute technique with adding strength training to my daily routine. So far so good! Report
I would like to see a list of 5-minute workouts; they are hard to find, I've been making my own list, and emailing them to myself, then saving them on one email -- would be a lot easier if someone else had done it for me. 8-) Report


 

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 runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach and medical exercise specialist, with additional certifications in behavior change, functional training and senior fitness. She is also a RRCA-certified running coach. See all of Jen's articles.