Short Workouts Add Health Benefits
If you're short on time, you can still get the benefits of full exercise by doing 10-minute workouts throughout your day. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as long as you spend between 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week, you'll see health benefits.
"The easiest thing for people to do is get out and walk," says Kathy Gray, exercise physiologist at St. Luke's. "It's good for weight loss, it helps with stronger bones. And walking is free."
The CDC has a chart of moderate aerobic activities that you can use to plan your week. For example, one day on the chart recommends 30 minutes of brisk walking. You can break that 30 minutes into three 10-minute activities. Take the stairs to get your morning coffee on a different floor at work in the morning. Take ten minutes to walk around at lunch. And a 10-minute walk in mid-afternoon can do wonders for your concentration and energy. "For a lot of people, it helps to write down what they've done," says Gray. "Keep a log of how much time you spent and how you felt." You may find that those minutes add up more quickly than you think.
To measure the intensity of your short workouts, use the talk test. If you can talk (but not sing) during the activity, you have reached moderate intensity. If you're doing vigorous activity, you will only be able to say a few words before you need to pause for breath. The CDC has resources to help you measure the intensity of your activity so you can get the maximum benefit from your short workouts. Keep in mind that if your goal is to lose one pound per week, you'll need to burn 3,500 more calories than you eat. About.com has calorie-burning calculators to help you determine what will work best for you.
There are many free websites and apps that can also keep you motiviated and informed. Try myfitnesspal.com, which has a free calorie counter and diet and exercise journals. It can be used on a computer, tablet or smart phone. Be sure to talk to your St. Luke's doctor before starting an exercise program.