10 minute workouts are quick, heart pumping workouts that have grown in popularity because they solve one of the biggest problems you face….. A lack of time.
But are 10 minute cardio routines really beneficial? Or do they promise more than they give.
Firstly, all exercise is beneficial, that’s the bottom line, but if you want to do 10 minutes and be done for the day, then here’s what you need to know:
The standards for fitness are pretty much universal. In order to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your chance of chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers (especially colon and breast cancer), type II diabetes and osteoporosis, on a weekly basis you need to accumulate:
– 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity: that is, activity where you feel out of breath but you’re able to maintain a conversation. (A heart rate of 50- 70%).
– 2 days of strength training: Each muscle group must be worked in these two days.
Of course doing more is better. For these requirements doing 10 minutes of exercise alone just isn’t enough.
BUT.. There is one catch… The amount of exercise needed to stay healthy and maintain a proper weight decreases when you increase your intensity.
Only 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise (completely out of breath or 70-85% heart rate) is needed as opposed to 150 minutes of moderate intensity.
The most popular 10 minute, vigorous intensity workout is known as HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training). It consists of vigorous activity for short bouts, followed by an active rest.
Studies on HIIT training are mostly positive, demonstrating an increase in fat loss, overall improvement in chronic diseases and in your health.
Here’s the thing.. The studies showing health and fat loss improvements from HIIT exceed the vigorous heart rate zone of 70-85%. In fact, most studies get participants to heart rate zones of 90% + . In other words, if you’re brand new to fitness, your heart might not be conditioned for this type of training.
Also, your body’s need to recover after vigorous exercise such as HIIT also takes much longer than moderate exercise.
For the most part, it’s recommended to do vigorous exercise only 2-3 times a week. If your body repairs quicker than others, perhaps 4 days but that’s it. This would only give you a maximum of 40 minutes of exercise. (Still well below your vigorous exercise requirements of 75 minutes).
So, although you can ultimately lower the amount of time you exercise, and while 10 minutes of exercise a day is a truly great beginning towards your health…..
The bottom line is no matter how you shift the numbers, you still need to do other forms of physical activity to reach your weekly exercise quota.
When 10 minutes of cardio is all you can manage:
Life is fast paced. In today’s society with mixed responsibilities of work and family life it can get difficult to justify 1-2.5 hours during your busy week. Here are a few tips to help you:
Accumulate activity into your day: Every step you take throughout your day counts as activity. You’d be surprised at how many exercise minutes you get when you’re late and rushing from your parking space to a meeting. In fact, you may achieve vigorous activity if you’re attending that meeting.
The important part with activity accumulation is to be able to track it, and have a concrete goal to aim for.
Lately Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity Bands are all the rage in the fitness industry, and with good reason. They’re slowly making personal trainers obsolete.
Fitbits track your steps, assess your activity and can even go as far tracking your sleep. Every time you take the stairs, walk a step or even garden, the Fitbit will monitor your activity making it easy to track your activity.
Multifunctional Pedometers are another great alternative if you want to focus solely on steps. and
Heart Rate Monitors will help you gauge what intensity level movements you stick to throughout your day.
Any way you do it is great, as long as you meet the minimum 10,000 steps (10 minutes of exercise included).
Use weekends for longer bouts: while during the week 10 minutes may be all you can cope with, most of us can manage one hour of workout time on weekends. If you set out for a 30 minute walk or run and finish off with a 30 minute stretch and strengthen on one or both weekend days you’ll easily meet both moderate and vigorous exercise requirements.
Do two or three 10 minute bouts throughout your day:
There is no reason why you can’t wake up 10 minutes early and do 10 minutes more before you come home from work. Add in a sweat free workout at your lunch time and you’ve accumulated 30 minutes in one day. In no time you’ll accumulate all 150 minutes.