The importance of exercise in living a long and healthy life is common knowledge by now. We have also been taught the value of creating a schedule that will allow us to get to the gym or hit the road running a few days a week. However, with shuffling through increasingly full calendars and too many daily tasks, it can feel downright impossible to set aside an hour or more to squeeze in a good, long workout. That is where the mini workout becomes your new best friend.
Gone are the days when a “good” workout was synonymous with a “long” workout. Short, concentrated bursts of activity have a powerful bang for their buck when it comes to exercise potential.
If you’ve got 10 minutes, you’ve got time.
If you find yourself trying (and failing) to fit in a workout between your work schedule and kids’ soccer practice, then this is for you. In fact, you can fit cardio, strength training, and flexibility into one short burst of time, making a huge impact on your health. These shorter workouts can be done once or even a few times throughout the day, depending on your fitness level. And the science is there to back it up: Shorter sessions carry just as many benefits as a long workout at the gym. In fact, some would argue that they are even more beneficial because people are more likely to commit to a workout if it is convenient.
You’ve still got to put in the effort.
Regardless of the length of time you choose for your workout, you need to put in the effort to see the results. This is especially true of shorter workout routines. Methods such as high intensity interval training (HIIT), Tabata, circuit training, and metabolic conditioning are known for helping participants get their heart rates up with higher-intensity movements requiring short but concentrated bursts of energy.
Where to start?
If you want to give it a go, getting into the swing of a mini workout is so easy you could start today. As with any exercise regimen, though, check with your physician first, especially if you have health issues that could result in injury. Once you carve out your time, creating a mini workout for yourself is as simple as choosing a few exercises. Some movements that require no special equipment include:
- Mountain climbers
- Jumping jacks
- Running in place
If you have simple equipment such as a jump rope or light weights, the list can grow longer. You will need a stopwatch or timer handy as well (most cellphones have these built in). You can time yourself to perform a movement from 30 seconds to two minutes, with a short rest in between. What you choose will depend on your fitness level, the amount of time you have and how many movements you would like to incorporate. A handy template to work with is the seven-minute workout, scientifically designed to work all the large muscle groups in your body in a short but challenging mini sequence.
Warmups and cool downs are not optional.
Remember that when performing any workout, no matter how short or long, a proper warm up or cool down is a great way to stave off injuries. Before and after your mini workout, try a short stretching routine as well as a few gentle movements, such as step touches, knee lifts, etc. This will have your body ready to take on the more intense exercise you will encounter while challenging yourself in your short workout session.
Workouts don’t need to be a hassle. In fact, mixing it up with a variety of mini workouts can keep your fitness journey beneficial and fun. The most important part is committing, so see if you can get yourself on track to your best self yet by incorporating these easy and efficient routines!