A real-life super woman might maintain a successful career, raise a loving family and stay in shape. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that ladies age 18 to 65 get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise and at least two muscle-strengthening exercises per week. And if you’re really in it to win it, the CDC recommends upping your weekly workouts to 300 minutes per week. But don’t fret -- utilizing mini workouts will let you meet your fitness goals while still maintaining your rockstar status.
Achieving 150 minutes of exercise every week seems like a daunting task -- especially when you can hardly find the time to shave your legs or grab dinner and a movie with your hubby. But if you break that big chunk of time into smaller sessions, it’s a much more manageable goal. The CDC recommends exercising for at least 10 minutes at a time -- so you might find it easier to squeeze 15 10-minute mini workouts into your week. In fact, these mini sessions are so easy to sneak into your daily routine that you might find yourself doing three workouts per day -- for a grand total of 315 minutes in one week.
Find the Time
The simplest and most basic workout plan might include exercising for 15 minutes in the morning, during your lunch break and after your evening meal. But you can also squeeze the mini workouts in while you’re waiting for dinner to finish in the oven or while the baby is napping and the house is quiet. Rather than visiting the vending machine on your afternoon break, grab a buddy and climb the stairs or walk around the parking lot. Instead of gabbing with friends at your weekly coffee shop dates, hit the park and gossip while strolling the trails. You can also get your hubby and kids involved by heading outdoors after dinner for a game of kickball or freeze tag in the backyard.
What to Do
The fun part is figuring out what you’re going to do. Let your daily mood and attitude guide your workout choice. If you need some fresh air, head outside for a 15-minute walk or jog. If you’re feeling agitated, a 15-minute session of yoga or Tai chi might be better. Or, get back to the basics and challenge yourself to do pushups, squats, lunges, situps and jumping jacks. If you prefer something a bit more structured, a variety of specific 15-minute workouts are available on video or fitness websites.
According to a 2011 “Shape” Magazine article, just 15 minutes of moderate exercise per day can add three years to your life. And a longer lifespan isn’t the only benefit. These brief workouts can also help relieve stress, improve concentration, enhance your mood and encourage better sleep habits. When you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed or fatigued, take 15 minutes for a brisk walk or yoga sequence. By directing your attention and efforts toward the basic physiology of your body, you should find that the stress and tension of your day melt away and you’re better able to focus on your work.
Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.