Print This Page SparkPeople

Small Bits of Fitness Add Up

Exercise Comes in All Shapes and Sizes
  -- By Liz Noelcke, SparkPeople Contributor

"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 1-2 minutes to warm up and get the muscles ready, including stretching. Follow with at least 7 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.