Forget the “I don’t have time to exercise” excuse. Caitlin Reid's 10-minute work-outs will help maintain your fitness levels throughout the holidays.
Christmas parties, chaotic gift shopping, busy work schedules, catching up with friends, preparing a gourmet feast and family obligations can make it hard to find the time to exercise. But a frantic festive season doesn’t mean your exercise regimen has to suffer.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, exercising in 10-minute sessions throughout the day can be just as effective for promoting health benefits as longer work-outs. The key is to make the exercise sessions more intense, elevating your heart rate and using as many muscle groups as you can.
3 steps to a shorter workout
Getting the most health and fitness benefits with the time you have available is easy. Just follow these three easy steps:
Step 1: Up the intensity: you’ve got less time, so work your body harder. If you usually walk briskly, then go into a light jog or walk up a hill instead of on a flat surface.
Step 2: Combine it: rather than just concentrating on one individual muscle group, perform a full body work-out. Combine arm with leg exercises, and always contract your abs throughout your work-out.
Step 3: Interval train: work hard for 20 seconds before going slow or having recovery time for 10 seconds. Then repeat 20 times, so you complete the 10 minutes. For example, jog for 20 seconds, then recover with a 10-second walk or slower paced jog, and then jump straight back into the jog.
Keep your fitness and health in check this festive season by completing three sessions of 10-minute workouts throughout your day: one before breakfast, one at lunch and one before dinner. You can choose any of the circuits or alternatively make up your own. You only have 10 minutes to complete the circuit so don’t slack off in between exercises. After you complete the first exercise, jump straight into the next.
Stand with feet together. Step forward with your right leg and lower yourself towards the ground, stopping before your leg knee touches the ground. Lift yourself back up, stepping back to the starting position. Next lunge forward with your left leg. Repeat 12 on each side.
Get a wooden box or stack of big old books. Step up with your right foot, then up with your left. Lower your right foot back to the ground and follow with your left. Repeat for two minutes, varying your speed.
Opposite arm and leg raise
Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs outstretched. Keep your head facing the ground. Lift your right arm and left leg directly up off the ground (about 10cm), hold for three seconds before lowering. Then lift the left arm and right leg. Repeat 12 times each side.
Lower abdominal twist
Lying on your back, bend your knees, keeping knees and ankles together. Hands should be on the floor next to your bottom. Lifting your feet off the floor, lower your knees to the right, before returning them to the middle. Then lower them to the left hand side. Repeat 15 times per side.
If you have a partner, put on the gloves and box for two minutes. Or do imaginary boxing or running arms on the spot, varying the speed. Repeat 12 times per side.
Grab a skipping rope and skip for two minutes. You can break up the two minutes by skipping fast for 20 seconds and then recovering for 10 seconds. Repeat four times without stopping.
Place your hands on the edge of a chair, feet shoulder-width apart. Hang your bottom off the chair. Bending elbows, slowly lower yourself towards the ground, stopping when your shoulders are level with your elbows. Raise yourself back up. Complete 12 times.
Start on your hands and knees with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your torso to the ground, stopping when your elbows are 90 degrees. Push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat 12 times.
Also known as star jumps. Start standing with your hands by your side and feet together. Jump your feet away from each other, as you raise your hands from your thighs, to up above your head. Lower your hands as you jump your feet back in together.
Lying on your back, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands across your chest, slowly lift your shoulder blades off the floor as you curl up towards your knees. Stop when you reach a 45-degree angle and then lower yourself to the floor. Do this one slowly. Repeat 20 times.
Work-out as you complete your chores
As you prepare the Christmas feast or evening meal, concentrate on tensing your buttocks. Hold for 20 seconds before relaxing for 10 seconds. Repeat 20 times.
Washing the dishes can be done as you complete your calf raises. Simply stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, lift yourself up onto your toes and hold for 10 seconds and then lower yourself to the floor. Repeat for three minutes.
When you’re talking on the phone, squat. Lower yourself slowly into a squatting position and hold for five seconds before slowly lifting yourself back up. Complete three sets of 12.