Forget the 'I don't have time to exercise' excuse. These 10-minute workouts will help you maintain your fitness levels even if you have no time.
Summer parties, busy work schedules, catching up with friends and family obligations can eat up any spare time you would use to exercise. But a frantic lifestyle doesn't mean your exercise regimen has to suffer.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, exercising in 10-minute sessions throughout the day can be just as effective for promoting health benefits as longer workouts. The key is to make the exercise sessions intense, elevating your heart rate, and using as many muscle groups as you can.
3 steps to a shorter workout
Getting the most health and fitness benefits with the time you have available is easy. Just follow these three steps:
Step 1Up the intensity: You've got less time, so work your body harder. If you usually walk briskly, then step it up - break into a light jog or tackle a challenging hill instead of staying on a flat surface.
Step 2Combine it: Rather than just concentrating on one individual muscle group, perform a full body workout. Combine arm exercises with leg exercises, and always engage your abdominal muscles throughout your workout.
Step 3Interval train: Go hard for 20 seconds before going slow or having recovery time for 10 seconds. Repeat this pattern 20 times, so you complete the 10 minutes. For example, jog for 20 seconds, then recover with a 10-second walk or slower paced jog - then jump straight back into the jog.
You can keep your health and fitness in check this holiday season with three sessions of 10-minute workouts every day. Choose one of these circuits, or make up your own. You only have 10 minutes to complete the circuit, so don't slack off in between exercises - after you finish one exercise, move straight on to the next.
Lunges: Stand with feet together. Step forward with your right leg and lower yourself towards the ground. Stop just before your left knee touches the ground. Lift yourself up, and step back to the starting position. Start the next lunge stepping forward with your left leg. Repeat 12 times on each side.
Step-ups: Get a wooden box or use a step. Step up with your right foot, then up with your left. Lower your right foot to the ground then follow with your left foot. Repeat for two minutes, and vary your speed to increase intensity.
Opposite arm and leg raise: Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs outstretched. Keep your face facing the ground. Lift your right arm and left leg directly up off the ground (about 10cm), hold for three seconds then lower, slowly. Then, lift your left arm and right leg. Repeat 12 times on each side.
Lower abdominal twist: Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Keep your knees and ankles together and your arms by your side. Lift your feet slightly off the floor, lower your knees to the right, return them to the middle then lower them to the left. Repeat 15 times on each side.
Boxing: If you have a willing partner, put on the gloves and have a friendly sparring match for two minutes. Alternatively, do shadow boxing or running arms on the spot, varying your speed to increase intensity.
Skipping: Grab a skipping rope and skip for two minutes. Vary the two minutes by skipping fast for 20 seconds then recovering for 10 seconds. Repeat this interval pattern four times without stopping.
Tricep dips: Place your hands on the edge of a chair, feet shoulder-width apart. Hang your bottom off the chair. This is the starting position. Bending elbows, lower yourself slowly towards the ground until your shoulders are level with your elbows. Then slowly raise yourself up to the starting position. Repeat 12 times.
Push-ups: Start on your hands and knees with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your torso to the ground, stopping when your elbows are 90 degrees. Push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat 12 times.
Jumping jacks: Also known as star jumps. Start by standing with your hands by your side and feet together. Jump your feet away from each other, while raising your hands from your thighs, to clap above your head. Lower your hands as you jump your feet back in together. Repeat 12 times.
Sit-ups: Lie on your back. Keep your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart, and your hands resting on your chest. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Curl up towards your knees. Stop when you reach a 45-degree angle, then lower yourself to the floor. Do this exercise slowly. Repeat 20 times.
Workout as you complete your chores
Butt busters: While you are preparing the evening meal, concentrate on tensing your buttocks. Hold for 20 seconds before relaxing for 10 seconds. Repeat 20 times.
Killer calves: Why not perform calf raises while you're doing the dishes? Simply stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, lift yourself up on your toes, hold it there for 10 seconds, then lower yourself to the floor. Repeat for three minutes.
Thriller thighs: When you're talking on the phone, squat. Lower yourself slowly into a squatting position and hold it there for five seconds before slowly lifting yourself back up. Complete three sets of 12.