10-Minute Timesaver Workouts

No Time? No Problem

Getty Images/Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy

When it comes to exercise, many of us make the mistake of thinking--if I can't follow the guidelines of exercise (at least 20 minutes of cardio and regular strength training), why bother at all? This all or nothing approach is a sure way not to reach your goals. Learn how to get the most out of your time to lose weight and get fit.

Timesaving Cardio Workouts

Recently, the Institute of Medicine announced new cardio guidelines--to maintain our health, we should spend at least an hour each day doing moderate exercise.

But, this isn't written in stone and, if you can't find an hour, that's no reason to swear off exercise entirely.

The trick is to use whatever time you do have to your best advantage. This means doing the things you already know to do: walking more often, taking the stairs, standing up every now and then to move around, etc. However, you still need more than that. One way to get your workout time in is to break up workouts into short segments throughout the day. 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there...it all adds up.

10-Minute Workouts

The key to burning calories during short workouts is to crank up the intensity and work harder than usual. This means increasing your Perceived Exertion to between 5-9. To burn more calories shoot for 10 minutes of:

  • Running - You don't have to sprint, but try to run faster than normal
  • Speedwalking - Walk as fast as you can without breaking into a run. It's harder than you think!
  • Walking the stairs - Run or walk up a flight (or more) and recover by slowly walking back down
  • Hill-walking - Find a medium-sized hill and walk or run up as fast as you can. Recover with a slow walk back down and repeat
  • Any gym machine - hop on any cardio machine for a 10-minute blast. Try something different--the Versaclimber and the rowing machine are two tough ones.

    Another option is to put together a variety of moves for an intense workout. The moves below are great ways to get your heart rate up in a very short period of time. Turn on the radio and mix and match them (30-seconds to 1 minute or more each) into a workout that fits your fitness level and schedule.

    You can also try this 10-Minute Low Impact Cardio Workout or this 12-Minute Low Impact Cardio Video Workout.  Make sure you warm up with some light cardio, do a quick cooldown and try to squeeze in a stretch.

    If you only have 10 minutes for lifting weights, hit your large muscle groups to get the most out of your workout. Slow your reps down--i.e., 4 counts up, 4 counts down to really challenge your muscles. Do them while you watch TV, after work or whenever you can find the time. Try these moves:

    All of these exercises use more than one muscle group, which means you get more bang for your buck.

    Add weight to make the exercises more difficult and perform between 8-16 reps.

    Another option is compound movements. Putting two moves together is a great way to work your body in a short period of time. Keep the reps slow and easy to keep perfect form:

    You can perform 8-16 reps of each exercise and repeat if you have time. Make sure you warm up with light cardio and stretch between exercises or after your workout. 

    No matter how busy you are, you can find time to exercise. Don't be afraid of exercise guidelines and whether you can meet them. Remember that it's always better to do something than nothing.