One of the reasons people proffer for being unable to exercise regularly, or at all, is that they are too busy; that they cannot make the time. Here are ideas for a ten-minute workout – the time you would take to watch a funny video on YouTube, look through a friend’s Facebook page or browse things you have no intention of buying.
There are many reasons to exercise – it’s good for health, it’s good for the brain and it helps you look better and live longer. Usually there is an equal number of excuses not to exercise – chief among them being a marked lack of time. If time is a problem, it need not be so. You may be a busy mum juggling kids, housework and more, or a high-powered executive with all sorts of demands on your time, but surely you can spare ten minutes a day to get fit? In fact, there is evidence to show that intense exercise for shorter durations may be more beneficial than low-intensity exercises over a longer duration.
If that caught your interest, here are some ten-minute workouts that will help:
1. Skipping: Ten minutes of skipping using a jump rope is fairly intense. As long as you don’t have joint problems, skipping is excellent for you. It will have you huffing and puffing in a couple of minutes and will give you a thorough workout in just ten minutes. Vary it with different types of skipping: running skips, high knees, double jumps, alternating legs, crossovers etc.
2. Ten minutes of weights: Resistance training is great for building lean muscle and burning fat. Do 10 to 12 of each of these: squats with weights, chin-ups, standing push presses, and as many pushups as you can. Repeat if you have the time.
3. Ten-minute workout using your body weight: You can do these anywhere, anytime, without any equipment. Perform sets of 10 pushups, stomach crunches, leg raises, reverse lunges and dips (using a chair or other elevated surface), 50 jumping jacks and the 30-second prone plank. If you have time, repeat the whole sequence or a part of it.
4. Ten-minute sprints: You can do these in your neighborhood, the park or on a treadmill if you have one. Intersperse short spurts of running at your full speed and alternate with slow jogging. Repeating the sequence for just ten minutes will give you a pretty good workout.
5. Dance: You could imitate your favorite Bollywood stars’ moves in the latest music videos or follow some vigorous YouTube dance routines (including belly dancing, which can be quite strenuous). Dancing can be a fun, frenetic workout.
6. Power yoga: This ten-minute power yoga workout for beginners above is a little energy boost for when you don’t really have the time to do any more.
7. Surya Namaskars: You would be surprised at how intense even a ten-minute session of surya namaskars can be, and how light and energized it would make you feel after. Start slow by holding each posture in the first two rounds, speed up the ones after, and then do another couple of slow ones in the end.
The little moments add up
You can also burn significant amounts of calories by utilizing some of the spare moments of your life:
- Do pushups while you wait for the water or the milk to boil.
- Ignore the lift and take the stairs instead…yes, even if you need to get to the tenth floor! Imagine what a great daily workout that will be if your home or office is on an elevated floor and you decide to take the stairs each time.
- Do stretches while you brush your teeth: calf stretches, waist twists, neck rolls, shoulder stretches and so on. It will relax you before you go to bed and make you feel limber soon after you get up in the morning.
- Play with your kids, visit the park with them. A good game of gully cricket or badminton is not just fun bonding time, it’s a nice little workout.
- If you take your child for a class of some sort, don’t just wait at the class or in your car fiddling with your phone or some other gadget. Instead take the time to take a brisk walk around the neighborhood or the cricket field or wherever the class is.
- When you have to go to the nearby store for a packet of milk or other provisions, walk there or cycle there.
- While watching TV (or at least during the ad breaks) lift small weights (a bottle of water will do), do leg raises or jog in place.
- When the domestic help does not turn up, do the jhaadu-pochha Bending and squatting to sweep and swab the floor can be a great workout.
- Watch a little less TV and add a little time to your workout for the day.
- When you chat with your friend or relative or do some gup-shup with a neighbor, keep yourself active. Walk around your apartment block while you chitchat.
It is all a question of prioritizing your fitness and finding the time and opportunities to get active! These ten-minute workouts may be a stepping stone to enhanced fitness and better health.