A blog by runners. For runners.

The 10-minute workout: staying healthy with a busy schedule

10 minute workout for health

We all know we should exercise most days of the week. But let's face it, with packed schedules — working, raising kids, keeping the house in order, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life — fitness sometimes falls by the wayside.

Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stresses the importance of regular physical activity. Exercise aids in weight control, improves your mood, and lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Experts say that adults should be active for a minimum of 150 minutes each week — which breaks down to five, 30 minute exercise sessions.

On those jam-packed days, you might not have a half hour to devote to exercise. But don't sweat it. The American Academy of Sports Medicine says that as long as you're active for 10 continuous minutes, it counts as exercise. Chances are you have a 10 minute chunk of time per day — or two or three — that you could devote to physical activity.

An added bonus? That short spurt of fitness also doubles as a stress-reliever. When you're overwhelmed at work, it may seem counterintuitive to take a break, but a quick jaunt may be exactly what you need to gain clarity.

Try one of these 10 minute workouts or activities:

  1. Walk your dog. Grab Fido and take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. If you take your pup on two 10 minute walks per day, you may reap greater health rewards. A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia found that people who walked their dog for 20 minutes, 5 days per week for a year lost 14 pounds on average
  2. Practice a short yoga sequence. Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and wake up with yoga. Stretching in the morning just feels good, and a short yoga sequence gives you time to focus on yourself before facing the day. Plus, yoga is great cross-training for runners.
  3. Change up your commute. If you live near your workplace, walk, bike, or run to and/ or from work a few days per week. If you take public transportation, get off the train or bus a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  4. Get moving on your lunch break. Cut your lunch break in half and spend a portion of it being active. Walk outside or in the hallways and stairways of your office building if the weather isn't nice.
  5. Walk while you talk. On a conference call that lasts for hours? Instead of sitting in front of the computer the whole time, get up and pace around your cubicle or march in place.
  6. Do a TV workout. Don't just sit and watch TV. Multitask by getting a workout and enjoying your favorite programs. Try intervals of jumping jacks, lunges, crunches, and push-ups during commercials.
  7. Speed clean. At the end of a long day, the last thing anyone wants to do is clean their house. Set a timer for 10 minutes and tidy up as much as you can as quickly as possible. You'll get a quick workout and a neater home.

We at WalkJogRun challenge you to take a 10 minute fitness break today. We promise we will!

Written by Jenilee Matz, MPH. Jen is writer, runner, and new(ish) mom living in the suburbs of Charlotte, N.C.

Hear more about running to work from The Run Commuters, two avid runners who commute by foot.