With only 10 minutes to spare in your morning routine, there is a temptation to skip your workout. However, 10 minutes may be all you need, according to research published in the December 2008 issue of the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.” University of Virginia researchers observed patients engaging in one 30-minute workout versus three, 10-minute workouts and found that both provided similar benefits. So skip the long shower and log your first workout before you even leave your bedroom.
Sun Salutations are a quick and effective way to begin the day. Steady breathing and stretching help you slowly warm up, improving strength and endurance. Perform Sun Salutations by standing with feet hip-width apart and hands in prayer position. Breathe rhythmically through your nose and raise your arms overhead. Sweep them down toward the floor, then reach one leg back so you are in runner’s lunge. Hold the position briefly before bringing the opposite leg back so you are in plank position. Lower the entire body to the floor, then press into Upward Dog. Raise your hips into Downward Dog, then bring one leg forward into runner’s lunge again. Bring the back foot forward and remain briefly in a forward fold before returning to the starting position. Repeat for a total of 10 minutes.
Don’t waste a minute hitting the gym. Instead, use your own body weight for resistance. Perform 12 repetitions of each exercise in the following sequence with no rest between sets and repeat for 10 minutes: pushups, one-leg squats, triceps dips, bicycle maneuver and side plank with dips. For maximum muscle activation, complete each exercise by lowering for a count of four, holding the isometric contraction for one count, then rising for one count.
To really get your heart rate soaring, practice 10 minutes of high-intensity intervals. Warm up by running in place or doing jumping jacks for one minute, then perform each of the following exercises for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Begin with mountain climbers by getting into plank position, then bending each knee toward your chest in rapid succession as you hop your foot forward. Stand up to rest. Perform plyometric squats next by lowering your hips toward the floor then pushing explosively out of your legs to jump and then lower slowly into the next squat. After resting, return to Plank position to do burpees, which involve a pushup followed by jumping your feet toward your hands to stand and reach toward the ceiling, then returning to pushup position. Finish with plyometric lunges by lowering your body into a lunge position, then forcefully jumping to switch the front and back legs and lower into another lunge.
Intersperse 10-minute workouts throughout your day for even greater benefits. Try running the stairs at your workplace, doing jumping jacks or keeping dumbbells or paint cans available to lift during down times.
Pamela Ellgen began writing in 2000 for "The Asian Reporter" newspaper. She is an award-winning journalist and writes on religion, culture, health and fitness. Ellgen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in writing from Washington State University and is a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine.