“I don’t have the time” is an excuse we’ve all used for why we don’t exercise. It is true that it can be difficult to take the recommended 30-60 minutes each day to dedicate to exercise. Fortunately, studies* show that even 10 minutes of exercise a day is enough to reap the benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart attack, diabetes and lower stress levels. So try this quick tip to incorporate exercise seamlessly into your day: Write a variety of exercises on pieces of paper (some sample exercises will be at the end, but hundreds can be found by searching “bodyweight exercises”) and place them in a jar. At various times throughout the day, reach into the jar and pull out an exercise. Aim to perform each exercise for either a set number of repetitions (10-20) or for 60 seconds, time well spent improving your health. Make time to incorporate exercise into your daily life and not only will your body reap the benefits, the endorphins released during activity will improve your mood.
There are no shortcuts to fitness. Improvements to muscular strength and cardiovascular health take time and effort, but this is a fun, simple way to get a little more movement in throughout your day. It will also help you think of fitness as being a lifestyle more than just something you do at the gym. I also highly recommend these short-stints for people who are new to fitness and want to slowly introduce times where they are increasing their activity levels throughout the day. As with any physical activity, stop if you experience pain and if you are new to an exercise program, consult your healthcare provider first to get the green light.
15 simple exercises
Here are 15 simple exercises you can use and the main muscle group(s) worked during them:
- jump squats (legs, glutes)
- elevated pushups (chest, back, arms)
- tricep dips (triceps)
- calf raises (calfs)
- plank (core, back)
- pull-ups (back)
- chin-ups (back, arms)
- step-ups (legs)
- crunches (core)
- lunges (legs)
- flutter kick (core)
- Hanging knee raises (core)
- sumo (wide) squats (legs, glutes)
- bicycles (core, back)
- burpees (entire body)
Remember, with exercise as with most good things in life: a little is good, more is better; everything counts.
*studies printed in Alex Hutchinson’s book: Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?