Is a 10-minute workout really better than no workout? You bet it is! If significant fat loss is your goal, aim to work up to 30 to 60 minutes of cardio several days each week. For toning and strengthening, though, an efficient 10-minute workout most days of the week can be just what you need.
Calisthenic workouts are the quick and dirty way to get stronger and tone your muscles. You can use military-style calisthenic workouts that will have you using every muscle in your body and breaking a sweat within the first minute of the workout. A circuit of basic moves such as push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks, lunges and squats cover every muscle group and get your blood pumping.
Pilates & Yoga Workouts
One of the best things about Pilates and yoga workouts is that they incorporate stretching with strengthening exercises, so you really can spend just 10 minutes on your workout without needing to stretch afterward. There are a multitude of DVDs with 10-minute Pilates and yoga workouts aimed at varying levels of fitness. These DVDs tend to include upper, lower and full-body workouts so you can not only rotate the muscle groups you work, you can also combine routines when you have time for a longer workout.
Experts at the Mayo Clinic state that increasing the intensity or duration of exercise provides the most health benefits. While 10 minutes of cardio won't get you into your fat-burning zone for very long, engaging in a quick moderate or vigorous 10 minutes of cardio will burn extra calories and probably improve your mood as well. Jumping rope, jogging, belly dancing and brisk walking are cardio options that you can do almost anywhere.
When you're having one of those really hectic -- or really lazy -- days, 10 minutes of abdominal and lower back exercises can make you feel like you've accomplished something and give you the energy boost you need to get through the rest of that day. Fitness Magazine suggests using stability ball or resistance band exercises in your 10-minute core workout to make the most out of those 10 minutes. You can also just use your body weight to work your core, or alternate types of core workouts to keep your muscles guessing.
Shawna Van Trease has been a freelance copy editor and writer since 2007. She has written extensively for private clients, including market research and website development firms. Van Trease holds a Master of Arts in social work from the University of Chicago.