If you’ve been a listener on the Do It Scared ® podcast, by now you’ll have heard me share that I am not a fan of working out. And if we’re just meeting, I’ll be the first to admit, mustering up the drive to work out is hard. Yet I lace up my shoes, grab some music, and tell myself “It’s only thirty minutes.” I know I’ll feel and think better after a run, but it’s sometimes still a struggle every morning.
If you’re nodding your head right now, know you’re in good company. No matter how hard we try, we know a one-hour-long sweaty workout session is not likely to happen anytime soon, and much less worked into our routine. We’ve already talked ourselves out of why we are not able to work out before we’ve even changed out of our clothes!
And that’s ok. It’s not my thing, and it’s not yours.
So how can we make sure we get enough exercise to stay fit and healthy? And what kind of exercise can we do?
Do 10 Minutes of Exercise at least three times a week. Yes, only 10 Minutes!
10 Minute Exercise vs. 30 Minutes+
This recent research study shows how working out for 10 minutes with one minute of high intensity, reaps the same benefits as 45 minutes of jogging! And while I reluctantly do it, I’m not a fan of running. But a 10-minute continuous moderate workout proves the same benefit as a nonstop 30-minute workout.
What’s more, the beauty of 10-minute work out sessions is it allows for complete flexibility.
This means you can switch up the kind of workout you do anytime you want (yoga, jogging, weights, pilates), adjust movements to meet you where you are, try something new or different when something begins to feel monotonous, and best of all, do them when it fits into your schedule.
Now, if you’re still feeling a little skeptical like I was, don’t worry, I’ve done some digging to share all the benefits you’ll reap by implementing short work out sessions into your life.
Looking to build some good new habits? Good or bad, habits require repetition. Once they become habitual, they become automatic! They no longer require extra thought—we simply do them.
The Benefits of a 10 Minute Exercise
There’s no longer a need to become stressed over a long grueling and intense workout to trim your waistline, improve your health, or burn calories. Instead, improve all of the following with short burst workouts.
1. Boost Your Mood + Brainpower
A study in Neuropsychologia shows how a 10-minute moderate-to-vigorous intensity workout provides an increase in attention and task-specific related activity that stays with you for a short time afterward.
Getting moving is more of a struggle in the mind than the body. Our brains are powerful in that it can give us a million reasons why we should do it later. However, once you get moving, the number of endorphins released provide an increase in energy, motivation, and reduce feelings of depression and fatigue.
2. Protect Your Joints
After tracking nearly 4,000 women in their 70s for three years, researchers found that those who reported having arthritis pain needed only 75 minutes a week of moderate exercise like brisk walking to reduce the frequency of symptoms by nearly 30 percent. That’s amazing!
So a 10-15 minute walk in your neighborhood, around town, with the kids, with your pet/s, or a loved one every day will keep some pain away. Yoga is another form of movement that has been shown to strengthen bones, joints and improve mobility.
3. Build Strength
One of the prime benefits of short burst workouts is it reduces muscle fatigue by allowing you to target different muscles of the body each time. Work on strengthening the core one day, glutes another, and legs or arms the day after that.
A study showed participants who did 10 minutes of lifting three times per week gained as much strength as those doing a three-set routine of 30 minutes. Controlled movements still get your heart rate up enough to add significant improvement to your overall health and muscle strength.
4. Lower Blood Pressure
Breaking up your workout into several sessions a day can prove to be more beneficial to lowering blood pressure than one long one. A study found 10-minute intervals of training a day was more effective in preventing future blood pressure spikes and improving cardio-respiratory function than one 30-minute workout.
Blood pressure is lowered through exercise by reducing blood vessel stiffness so blood can flow more easily. The effects are most noticeable during and following a workout.
5. Manage Your Weight
If you enjoy running, studies show just 40 minutes of jogging a week is enough to make a significant difference in your goals of managing weight. If you prefer HIIT or interval workouts, this study shows how 10 minutes of daily exercise not only assists in losing weight but helps to maintain a healthy BMI.
Here’s a fascinating report by Men’s Health on the calories expended by chess players during a tournament. A player is able to burn 560 calories in just two hours sitting still. For comparison sake, it would take an average person two hours on a treadmill to break 500. A prime example of brainpower in use.
6. Reduce Stress
We have what you may have heard of as the fight-or-flight response. It’s our emotional trigger to either address or flee (and maybe address later) from a stressful situation or day-to-day tasks that can induce overwhelm. Exercise has been proven to reduce the amount of stress held within our bodies, reduce mental overload, and prevent certain ailments later on.
Positive changes in the autonomic nervous system can happen with just 70-75 minutes of exercise a week. Even more interesting is research found an increase in cognitive performance and function regardless of age! We release bottled-up stress and tension during a workout. Releasing those emotions prior to sitting down to work on a project, clears our heads to think more clearly and feel more productive. Win-win.
7. Sleep Better at Night
This study analyzed sleep patterns and behaviors of 3081 adults ranging from the ages of 18-85 for seven days. Those who performed the minimum required amount of physical activity for their age group showed a 95% decrease of feeling sleepy during the day compared to those who did not exercise.
There were also significant improvements found in the reduction of leg cramping and having an improved amount of concentration when they felt sleepy. Not only will participating in physical activity help you sleep better at night, but it will also help you focus and maintain during the day.
Ideas for getting in a 10 minute exercise each day
There’s no need to stress yourself out with intense long workouts. It’s much more manageable to do short burst workouts during or throughout the day, especially if you are busy. Let’s be honest, 10 minutes is much more doable than 30 minutes!
Look at your weekly schedule and consider where you might be able to squeeze in those 10 minutes of self-care. Here are just a few ideas that can get you started:
- Maybe you can work out before the kids are up, or perhaps with the kids (use them as weights and not to mention it will be beneficial for them also).
- After work, before work, on your lunch (quick yoga session in the park).
- In the kitchen or living room waiting for dinner to cook.
- While the kids are watching an educational show or movie.
- You don’t know what to do and have 10 minutes, or some time to spare, and feel like turning on Netflix. Work out WHILE you’re watching your favorite Netflix show!
Take care of your body and your body will take care of you and your mind.
Just be sure to check with your doctor to make sure there are no factors limiting your ability to workout weekly and improve your overall health.
No gym? No problem – Use apps instead
You don’t need a gym membership to begin working out. With today’s technology, there are hundreds of online streaming services available that provide a 10 minute exercise, such as YouTube, as well as phone apps we can use to find and follow.
Here are just a few apps you can look into that allow you to work out in the comfort of your own space and home. Keep in mind some of these are free and some do require a subscription after a free trial.
Fitness Apps for the Body
Tone It Up – live and on-demand classes from pilates to yoga to HIIT
TRX – subscription after trial
Fit On – free with a variety of different styles
8Fit – provides workouts as well as helps create healthy habits
Gixo – live and on-demand classes in strength, power, running and walking
Asana Rebel – yoga flow sequences, bodyweight workouts, and HIIT inspiration
Strava – for runners looking build endurance to compete in a marathon or triathlon
Fit Bit – track your overall progress
My Fitness Pal – a free online calorie counter and diet plan creation
YouTube: yoga, fitness, meditation
Daily Yoga – yoga-based practices built on strength and tone to train different parts of your body
Fitness apps for the Mind
Headspace – getting started to advanced meditation practice
Calm – guided meditation and sleep stories for adults
Relax Melodies – cool down to a range of sounds
Switch it up and Find What Works
If something doesn’t work one day, try something else the next day. Instead of feeling defeated that a work out didn’t happen when you wanted it to, give yourself credit for trying, look at the rest of the day and see if it can still be worked in. If not, then schedule a 10 minute exercise for the next day! Creating space for a workout in our daily rhythm takes time just like when we’re trying to incorporate anything new into our schedule.
Worst case scenario, turn on some of your favorite music and have a 10-minute dance party in the living by yourself or with your kids! Chances are you’ll end up getting more of a workout than you realize.
No matter what happens, give yourself grace and figure out what works best for you. You can do this.
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