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10-Minute Timesaver Workouts

No Time? No Problem


Updated July 16, 2009

When it comes to exercise, many of us make the mistake of thinking--if I can't follow the guidelines of exercise (at least 20 minutes of cardio and regular strength training), why bother at all? This all or nothing approach is a sure way not to reach your goals. Learn how to get the most out of your time to lose weight and get fit.

Timesaving Cardio Workouts

Recently, the Institute of Medicine announced new cardio guidelines--to maintain our health, we should spend at least an hour each day doing moderate exercise. But, this isn't written in stone and, if you can't find an hour, that's no reason to swear off exercise entirely.

The trick is to use whatever time you do have to your best advantage. This means doing the things you already know to do: walking more often, taking the stairs, standing up every now and then to move around, etc. However, you still need more than that. One way to get your workout time in is to break up workouts into short segments throughout the day. 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there...it all adds up.

10-Minute Workouts

The key to burning calories during short workouts is to crank up the intensity and work harder than usual. This means increasing your Perceived Exertion to between 5-9. To burn more calories shoot for 10 minutes of:
  • Running - You don't have to sprint, but try to run faster than normal
  • Speedwalking - Walk as fast as you can without breaking into a run. It's harder than you think!
  • Walking the stairs - Run or walk up a flight (or more) and recover by slowly walking back down
  • Hill-walking - Find a medium-sized hill and walk or run up as fast as you can. Recover with a slow walk back down and repeat
  • Any gym machine - hop on any cardio machine for a 10-minute blast. Try something different--the Versaclimber and the rowing machine are two tough ones.

Another option is to put together a variety of moves for an intense workout. The moves below are great ways to get your heart rate up in a very short period of time. Turn on the radio and mix and match them (30-seconds to 1 minute or more each) into a workout that fits your fitness level and schedule.

  • Jumping jacks
  • Jogging in place - lift your knees and pump your arms to get your heart rate up
  • Plyometric lunges - Begin in a basic lunge position. In an explosive movement, jump, switch legs in the air and land with bent knees into lunge
  • Ski hops - with feet together, jump from side to side, landing with knees bent. The wider you jump and the lower you squat into the jump, the harder you'll work
  • Jump rope
  • Skipping - Trust me, you might feel silly, but it's much harder than you remember
  • Step jumps - Stand in front of step or platform and jump onto it, landing with both feet (harder) or a staggered landing. Step down and repeat
  • Squat hops - Stand with feet wide. Lower into a squat and hop forward 4 times, keeping feet wide, legs bent into squat. Walk back and repeat
  • Dancing around the house and singing into a fake microphone
Make sure you warm up with some light cardio, do a quick cooldown and try to squeeze in a stretch.

Next: Quick Strength Training Workouts

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Quick and Effective Cardio Workout for Heart Health

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