Find Time to Exercise: 10-Minute Workouts
Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Between work, family, errands, cleaning, etc., it can be difficult to fit in a daily workout. What most people don’t know, however, is that many quick, targeted workouts (core strengthening routines, leg toning exercises, abs flattening exercises or power cardio) can be more effective for maintaining fitness than the same long, arduous workout routines you may be used to.
The American Heart Association recommends doing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. There are many benefits that come from combining quick, higher intensity workouts with steadier, low intensity workouts during the week.
Benefits of Daily Exercise
Manage Weight. Consistent and regular exercise burns an average 10 to 20 percent more calories during the day, increases metabolism and helps to shed excess body fat.
Improve Self-Esteem. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain that help reduce stress, improve mood and holistically improve hormone levels.
Prevent Chronic Disease. Studies show that daily exercise reduces risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis and heart disease.
Strengthen Muscles. Aside from developing muscle tone, consistent exercise strengthens target muscle groups and improves how effective the body moves (thus making future exercise easier).
Boost Brain Power/Memory. Daily exercise boosts blood flow and increases the amount of oxygen being carried to the brain, thus fighting Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia and memory loss by improving synapse response and connectivity in the brain.
Encourages Healthier Lifestyle. Consistent exercise encourages a healthier diet, and inviting others to join for workouts and motivates you to become more active more often.
Rules for 10-minute Workouts
Here are some exercise rules to keep in mind to get the most out of your 10-minute workout:
• Warm Up/Cool Down: –Always make sure to stretch before and after each workout to keep from injuring muscle groups tendons; recommended five minutes to warm up and cool down for 10-minute workouts.
• Focus on Form: As with any exercise, efficient form is key to preventing injuries and maximizing the benefit to muscle groups; study exercise guides to know the hallmarks of good form and bad form.
• Maintain Intensity: In a quick workout, whether it’s a 10-minute abs workout or a 10-minute cardio workout, keep the intensity high to push your overall heart rate threshold, endurance and power.
• Balance Short and Long Workouts: Though a five-minute jog is better than staying on the couch, 10-minute workouts should be used occasionally in conjunction with more serious cardio or strength workouts; combining short, power workouts with longer, endurance strength training will ultimately benefit your body more than sticking with one or the other.
• Focus the Workout: Choose one muscle group to focus exercise in each quick 10-minute workouts for better results and recovery.
• Reps: Each exercise should last one to two minutes, and the sets should be repeated twice in 10 minutes. Rest between sets as needed but remember that the whole point of a 10-minute workout is to power through the short sets.
10-Minute Workouts to Get You Started
10-minute Workouts for the Upper Body
Bicep curls: Grip with your arm straight and then bring the weight or resistance band to your chest. Lower it until your arm is straight and repeat steadily. To exercise the different parts of your biceps and triceps adjust your grip and the angle at which you hold your hands.
Chest/Bench Press: Grip with your hands near your chest and arms at 90 degrees. Press forward until arms are fully extended and then bring them back down to your chest and 90 degrees.
Pulse Resistance Pushups: In push-up position, lower yourself to the ground, or near the ground, and press upward in small pulses that elevate you a few inches higher, then lower yourself again. Pulse repeatedly for one minute.
In and Outs: Seated, balance on your sit bones and raise your feet off the ground. Continuously bring your knees to your chest and then extend your legs out, keeping your feet off the ground. To increase difficulty, bring your hands off the ground and wrap them around your legs each time the knees come to the chest.
Opposite Raises: On your hands and knees with your back straight, raise your right hand out in front of you while extending your left leg out behind you. Hold for three seconds and then alternate.
Plank: In push-up position, lower yourself to your forearms and hold that position level, tightening your abdominals. To increase difficulty, rotate from side to side while balancing on one forearm.
Oblique V-Ups: Lay on your side with your legs and waist at a 45-degree angle. With the top arm behind your head, lift your legs up while crunching your abdominals towards your feet, lower them to the ground and repeat. After 30 seconds change sides.
Mason Twist: Seated, clasp your hands together with your fingers intertwined at your chest. Lift your feet off the ground and bend your knees. Rapidly tap your clasped hands to the ground on either side while keeping your feet off the ground.
Squat Thrust: Standing straight, bend down and place your hands outside of your feet, shift your weight forward and hop your feet backwards to push-up position. Do a push up then hop your feet back to your hands. Stand up straight and then repeat.
10-Minute Leg Toning Exercises
Three-Direction Kicks: Standing straight up with your arms held at 90 degrees, raise your leg forward and kick upward. Bring that leg back to the starting position and, without touching it to the ground, bend your knee and kick out to the side. Bring that leg back to the starting position again, and without touching it to the ground kick behind you, careful to keep your chest centered to maintain balance. Alternate legs.
Lunges: Standing straight up, step forward with your front foot flat on the ground and both knees flexed. Keep your chest level. Return to standing and step out to the side, keeping hips square for a side lunge. Return to standing and alternate legs.
Squat Hops: Standing, place your hands behind your head with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Keeping your chest straight, bend your knees down to a 90-degree angle as if sitting then jump up off the ground. When you land, immediately begin the next squat. (If your joints are not strong enough for jumps, simple return to standing. Single-leg squats are also an option.)
Front Leg Pull: Sit with your legs extended on the ground, hands at your side with fingers pointing toward the feet. Lift hips off the floor to bring the body to a straight line. Raise the left leg as high as you can while keeping hips straight, hold for four seconds. Lower your leg to the floor and alternate sides. Every other rep, bend the knee to the chest as you raise your leg.
Back Leg Pull: In push-up position, lift one leg off the ground slightly, point toes and elevate it behind you until level with shoulders. Then lower it back down and, without touching it to the ground, bring the knee to the chest. Return to starting position and alternate legs.
10-minute Cardio Workouts
Each exercise is a 10-minute workout on its own.
Interval running: Begin at a casual jogging pace for two minutes, then alternate each minute between a significantly faster pace and the casual pace you began jogging at.
Box Jump: Jump up and down from a box, bleacher or elevated platform continuously for one minute, landing on the ball of your foot to minimize your time on the ground. Try to keep your heels from touching the ground during the set. (Optional: faster toe taps with alternating feet to decrease impact on joints.)
Plyometric Exercises: Use linear and lateral jumps to stabilize and propel yourself from side to side, front and back. Check this out for more information on plyometric exercises.
Fartlek: Similar to interval training, begin jogging at an even pace but every minute burst into 30 seconds of rapid speed, then return to casual jogging pace until the next speed burst.
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