It can be frustrating to try and find time to work out when you’re juggling a busy schedule. Who has time to exercise for 30 minutes or more?
You do — if you break it up into manageable pieces. In fact, studies have shown that three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective as a 30-minute workout — as long as you make them count. These short workouts can help you build strength, improve aerobic fitness, and yes, lose weight, when you’re eating a healthy diet as well. Here are some ideas to get a good workout in when you only have a few minutes at a time:
- Walking. This isn’t just a stroll down the street. You need to make it moderate intensity, meaning you can talk, but not sing, while you’re doing it. Try getting to work a few minutes early and doing laps around the parking lot. Or, use your treadmill at home for 10-minute bursts. Wherever you can walk, try to get just a few minutes in when you can. The American Heart Associationrecommends about 3 mph or faster — but not “speed walking.”
- Dancing. If you’re not able to get out and walk, your favorite music and some moderate intensity dancing can burn some serious calories. Kick your legs, raise your arms, move around, and make it fun so you can get your heart pumping.
- Jumping rope. You’ll likely need the space of the outdoors to do this one, but it’s a good activity that will get your heart rate up and can give you some variety to your workouts.
- Climbing stairs. This is a versatile activity that can be done at your own pace, and you may be able to do it at work or at home — wherever you can find some stairs that aren’t heavily used.
- Jogging in place or jumping jacks. These can be high-intensity activities, so you’ll need to take it easy if your fitness level isn’t there yet. You could alternate a few jumping jacks with marching in place or another lower intensity activity. Remember, you want to be able to talk — but not so out of breath you can’t speak.
If you start by doing these short workouts and get into a regular routine, you may find they get easier to do and you feel better overall. In addition, you’ll be reaping the many benefits of exercise such as a lower risk of some illnesses, stronger bones and muscles, and a longer life expectancy.
If you’re new to exercise, talk with your physician before beginning a program. You’ll want to make sure you are physically ready to do the activities and don’t have any restrictions.
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