Fit in Exercise at Home With the 10-Minute Plan

10-minute exercise - treadmill
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If you're looking for a way to fit fitness into your busy life, try what I call the 10-10-10 plan: Three 10-minute exercise bursts in a day. Forget changing into workout clothes, trying to get to the gym for an hour (plus travel time), and showering after. Instead, find just 10 minutes when you can squeeze in some activity. It really does make a difference. 

Carve out those 10 minutes three times and you'll achieve 30 minutes of exercise a day—enough to garner you some helpful health benefits to counteract your sedentary hours.

If you want to lose weight, you'll probably need to ramp up the intensity and/or length of your workouts, and you'll absolutely need to take a look at your eating habits too.

Once you have your 10-10-10 plan working smoothly, you can try to add 5 or 10 minutes to one or more of those workout sessions. Before you know it, you could be working out for an hour a day without much disruption to your schedule.

10-Minute Exercise at Home in the Morning

Take your first 10-minute chunk (see suggestions below for possible activities) as soon as you get up in the morning. If the rest of your household is sleeping, great. If needy kids, spouses, or pets are awake, they can wait 10 minutes for whatever it is they desperately want your help with. They may even realize they can find their own glasses or pour their own cereal! And of course, kids and dogs could even join your mini workout session.

Take a 10-Minute Exercise Break Mid-Day

If you are at home during the day, plan for another 10-minute exercise session around lunchtime, say while your kids are napping or having quiet time (or, while you're all at the playground!). If you work outside your home, shave 10 minutes off your lunch hour for a quick walk or other workout. Bring some healthy snacks to eat at your desk before or after you exercise if necessary, and don't forget to drink plenty of water.

10-Minute Exercise at Home in the Evening

Grab your last workout session sometime in the evening: It could be while your dinner's in the oven, after the family eats, or even once kids are in bed. I know you have a lot going on, with homework, chores, and all the administrative tasks that parenthood entails—not to mention your need to sleep.

But remember, you only need 10 minutes, and you can probably even multi-task.

10 Ideas for 10-Minute Exercise

  1. Resistance training with hand weights, rubber bands or tubes, kettlebells, or your own body weight (crunches, push-ups, etc.)
  2. Stretching, yoga, or Pilates
  3. Jumping on a mini-trampoline or rebounder
  4. Running or walking (in place, on a treadmill, around the block, to work or school and back)
  5. Jumping rope or Hula hooping
  6. Dancing
  7. Wii Fit (strength training or cardio)
  8. Elliptical trainer or stationary bike; or take your real bike out for a quick spin
  9. Climbing stairs
  10. Streaming videos or apps (many are designed specifically for short workouts; also see if your cable TV provider offers exercise videos on demand)

By Catherine Holecko
Catherine Holecko is an experienced freelance writer and editor who specializes in pregnancy, parenting, health and fitness.