What if someone told you that you could get all the benefits of exercising 30 minutes a day 5 days a week in 10 minutes instead? Too good to be true?
Well, there seems to be overwhelming evidence that exercising in 10-minute intervals can have a huge effect on your fitness level including increasing your metabolism.
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We all know the benefits of regular exercise, however, let’s remind ourselves what we have to gain.
- Weight Loss
- Stronger Bones and Muscles
- Brain Health
- Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
- Reduced Risk of Metabolic disorders
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Lower Cholesterol Levels
- Some Cancer Prevention
- Increased Energy Levels and Elevated Mood
Bottom Line- You can increase your chances of living a longer life.
We all know exercise is good for our hearts, but the thing that is jumping out at me now is brain health and increased energy levels. It’s an age thing, I know. I can honestly say this is the first time in my life I have EVER thought about brain health.
This is all old news to all of us. We know it is all good, right? When I go to the Doctor and she says, “What do you do to exercise?”. Sometimes I lie and tell her I walk every day because I used to. But I never think about handing her a list about how physically active I am.
True, when we took care of our grandchildren, my fit bit showed 60 flights of stairs in ONE DAY! Laundry was in the basement, and someone always needed me. In older definitions that didn’t count as exercise for a doctor.
10 Minutes of Exercise, For Real???
What we are hearing the experts say is that you don’t need to exercise for 30-60 minutes. You can exercise for 10 or even 5 minutes and get the same fitness and health benefits!
I have decided to get my head out of the sand and listen to the experts. No matter what your reason to exercise more, stay with me.
Let’s take a look at some of the research. William E. Kraus, M.D., of the Duke University School of Medicine and investigators from the National Cancer Institute disagree that workouts have to be long in duration in order to be effective. They found exercising for shorter periods of time at moderate intensity did have positive effects. This study was conducted with over 4,000 people over age 40.
This piece of research has been referred to in many sources and seems to be well respected and accepted as valid- Okay! I’m going with it. It will soon be known as “fact”. I love it.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention agree. They suggest several short workouts during the day can have the same health benefits as one long workout session.
This is really good news for people who really are too busy with work or family responsibilities to exercise for 60 minutes at a time.
This is also really good news for those of us that look at a long workout as overwhelming. Setting goals of ten minutes three times a day is very doable.
For sure, keep in mind that more exercise will always be better. The CDC still recommends 150-300 minutes of physical activity a week, but how that looks has a lot more options.
All Physical Activity Counts and is Considered Cumulative
Another conclusion from the Duke University study was that there may be benefits from all physical activity extended through the day.
This means that every time you take the stairs, park your car far away, stand up and work rather than sitting, you are deliberately moving and that is considered “physical activity”.
Some are calling sitting the new smoking as far as being a danger to your health.
Why was it difficult to measure the effectiveness of physical activity vs 20 to 30 minutes of intense exercise?
According to Brad Cardinal, a kinesiology professor at Oregon State University it has been very difficult to measure the fitness results of short bursts of physical activity because it was too hard for people to keep track of 5 minutes of brisk walking or the intensity of climbing stairs.
But along came Fitness Trackers, allowing researchers to more accurately measure people’s daily activities. Now short burst of activity can be measured during the day and you get credit for vacuuming, visiting a co-worker, mowing the lawn, and taking the stairs. They are all good for you.
You may want to invest in a fitness tracker to help monitor your progress. The only one I am including here is the Fitbit Charge 3 because it is the one I am planning on having it for myself. It is an upgrade from my old one.
Fitbit’s Charge 3 is an upgraded, swim-proof fitness tracker, with a larger touchscreen display.
• You choose from 15+ exercise modes including swimming and circuit training. When you set goals you can monitor your gains.
• Better measure calorie burn and resting heart rate. Still monitors deep sleep and can even diagnose breathing disturbances while sleeping.
But there are so many fitness trackers to choose from, and I am not an expert. Do a little research on features like counting steps, flights of stairs, calories burned, hours of sleep, pulse rate, price, etc to find the tracker best for you.
Let’s Get to It. Make Your 10 Minute Plan
It is really important to set your own priorities and make a plan. The self-talk of “I’ll start tomorrow” can be really powerful and stop you from implementing your plan. Be determined and change that message to, “Today is the Day”.
It won’t happen if you just say, “That sounds like a good idea, I should try that.”
Follow These Four STEPS:
- Scroll back up to the list of benefits of exercise and choose 3 or 4 that you want for yourself. Don’t ask which ones you things are important, which ones do you WANT?
Write them down.
Of course, you will gain all the benefits, but it is important for you to focus on what you really want for yourself. For example, I’ll jump out there and share:
I want Stronger Bones and Muscles along with Increased Energy & Brain Health. I will be happy with weight loss and the other benefits, but I will focus on the success of my own choices
- Write down 6 exercises that you know you can do. Why so many? You may not like the first 5 you try. You need some options. If you only have jogging in place and jumping jacks and try to do that alone for 10 minutes straight?- Painful
Do you like to dance? When was the last time you skipped for 30 seconds? Whatever you choose, you probably won’t want want to do the same thing for 10 minutes. Choose from your list and pick two or 3 that you can alternate.
Now you can mix it up and make adjustments every day!
In case you don’t have 6, you can start with these.
Walk Briskly or run slowly Jog -In-Place or Skipping Jumping Jacks Climb Stairs Dancing Circuit Training Squats Exercise Bands Lunges Push-ups (knees) Sit-ups Chair Dips-Triceps & Shoulders
Keep in mind, that if you are someone who is moving to this plan because you have been working out quite a bit, but just don’t have the time to maintain an exercise program, you are different than the person who hasn’t exercised for a long time.
You know which group you are in, so plan with your own needs in mind.
Ready, Set, Go… As they say “Do it Now”
- Plan one 10 minutes session for tomorrow ( you may want to start with 5-minute sessions) no matter where you are in your health and fitness goals,
I will tell you, – even after the first day, you will feel great. You did it and you know you can do it tomorrow.
4. Stick with one 10-minute session for 3 days, maybe trying a few other exercises on your list.
If you haven’t exercised for a while, this is important. In the beginning, it would be great if you gave your self just a couple of days to acclimate before pushing yourself too hard and getting discouraged.
Want a Pre-Planned Plan?
Maybe you just want someone to give you a plan to get started and then you can make adjustments? Sometimes you at least need so good suggestions, so here you go:
Ben Greenfield, fitness and triathlon expert, recommends completing these moves three times:
50 jumping jacks
15 bodyweight squats
15 push-ups (on your knees is fine)
15 reverse lunges per side
15 triceps dips (using a chair or bench)
Choose two or 3 intense movements and alternate them.
An example would be to do jumping jacks or run in place for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds.
Repeat 10 or 15 times.
Brad Cardinal also said that people may be more likely to stick with a physical activity routine that involves short bursts of exercise. For example, six 5-minute bouts of activity throughout the day may sound less intimidating to some people than a 30-minute workout done all at once.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t do some strength training or extra stretching exercises. I am not an exercise expert, but I really recommend using resistant exercise bands to build strength. I will admit, I love these and use them.
The bands come in different strengths and you really don’t need to be lifting heavy weights to build strength. If you work from home or are just home, keep them close to you. They do come with a manual to help you get started.
When you need a break, pick these up and work a muscle group for 1 minute.
Tip: For 1 week keep a list of ALL the things that you do to be active. Include grocery shopping, cleaning house, climbing stairs, mowing the lawn, gardening, chasing kids, walking to lunch etc.
This will be really motivating encouraging.
Have Spare Minute or Two?
You made a decision to move around more when you have a spare minute or two. When would that be?
- During commercials, while watching TV
- Cooking – waiting for water to boil
- The time it takes for the Keurig make your morning coffee
- Replace driving with walking or biking whenever possible
- Just walk a little faster
- Take the stairs instead of an elevator
- Clean house or garden (I didn’t say it would all be fun stuff)
- Anytime you find your self just sitting or standing while you wait.
Remember all physical activity can make a difference.
Stretching muscles regularly can help you prevent injuries, back pain, and balance problems.
There is nothing wrong with taking another 10 minutes to stretch your muscles after exercising. Not only does it feel really good, but is an important part of being healthy.
The benefits of regular stretching include:
- Preventing injury
- Improving range-of-motion, making everyday activities so much easier
- Help prevent back pain and relieve muscle stiffness
- Improve Your Circulation
The type of stretching I am talking about here is sometimes called Static Stretching. Slowly stretch your muscle to a point of feeling a mild pulling sensation. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds.
NEVER bounce or jerk your muscles.
Wait until you have completed your 10-minute workout before stretching. Your muscles will be warmed up and get a better stretch.
Don’t stretch before you workout as we were earlier told.
Read Four Body Changes to Prevent as we Get Older to learn more about how important it is for all of us to maintain:
- Muscle strength
- Brain Functioning
The efforts put in these four areas now will greatly determine the quality of life we have later. Truth be told, it is NEVER too late to start moving more.
Whatever age you right now gives you and you alone control on being the healthiest you can be going forward.
Are you willing to give this a try for four weeks and pay attention to how you look and feel. Use the checklist and journal here.