We all know we should exercise several times a week, but too often real life gets in the way. When time is at a premium, quick cardio workouts can be just the ticket to working some quality exercise into a busy day. Even quick, 10-minute workouts can get you moving, work up a sweat, and kick your metabolism into high gear. Try one of these 5 workout approaches to get your day started off right.
1. Interval Workouts
Instead of jumping on the treadmill or stationary bicycle for ten or fifteen minutes of steady work, add short bursts of faster, more intense work every three or four minutes. This addition of a simple interval workout can greatly increase the results you get from even a short time on your favorite exercise machine.
For a treadmill, increase the speed, incline, resistance, or any combination of the three. On a stationary bike, increase speed or resistance, or add vigorous arm movement to your regular cycling to increase intensity. Increasing the incline on the treadmill will not only up the intensity, but will also help trim down those hips and thighs.
2. Use the Stairs
If there are stairs at your home or workplace, take ten or fifteen minutes out of your day to use them. Go up quickly, then come down more slowly, adding an element of interval training. Going up and down stairs can be quite strenuous, and can burn a respectable amount of calories and fat in even a short period of exercise.
3. Create a Short Exercise Routine
Make a list of your favorite exercises, such as jumping jacks, jump rope, push ups, etc., and use those to put together a quick routine. Vary the order or the types of exercises with each session to keep things interesting. Even jogging in place or vigorous dancing to your favorite tunes can get your heart pumping and offer a good aerobics session. This approach can help you put together a variety of home workouts to keep you exercising every day.
4. Speed Walking
If you normally start your day with a turn around the neighborhood, try upping your pace. The faster you walk, the more distance you’ll cover in your ten to fifteen minute walk, and the more calories you’ll burn. Take your dog along if you want company–he could probably use the exercise, too.
For even more impact, try carrying small weights when you walk, and swing those arms. Light hand weights work well for this, or you could even carry cans of vegetables to work those arms.
5. Combine Your Workouts
If you usually work out just on the treadmill, or just on the stationary bike, try mixing it up. Do five minutes on the bike and five on the treadmill, or ten on each for a longer workout. The variation will challenge your body and create a more effective workout even when you only have a short time to spare. Expand this to add sets of floor exercises, running in place, or jumping rope, and you’ve got a quick and easy circuit training workout.