Ten minutes to better health

If you have 10 minutes, you have time for to fit in your cardio training.

Getting fit doesn't have to take a lot of time.

Lack of time is the most common barrier to fitting in exercise.  At Ascend, we recommend that our clients fit in at least three cardiovascular training sessions per week in addition to their workout sessions with us.     “I can swim twice a week while my kids are in lessons, and I do the stairs on Friday mornings… so anything else will be a bonus,” she reasoned.  I replied “can you stay and do an extra 10 minutes right now?”  Of course she could- and she did.  After all, what’s 10 minutes?

We are conditioned to think that we have to workout for 45 or 60 minutes in order to get results.  In reality, very few people have more than an hour to spend doing exercise.  Those who do often stick to the same steady state cardio training and still don’t see results.  Done right, a 10-minute workout can even more effective than long, slow (and often downright boring) cardio sessions.  A 10-minute workout is more manageable to fit into your day, and a 10-minute sweat session can be way more fun!

The key to making a 10-minute cardio session extremely effective is to increase the intensity. If you can talk, you’re probably not working hard enough.  Short bursts of high intensity exercise will boost your metabolism and tone your muscles more effectively than steady state exercise at a lower heart rate.  If you’re new to exercise altogether, it’s wise to start slow (at a pace at which you can carry on a conversation) and build over two to three months. However if you’ve been working out for a while, and have no contraindications to high intensity training, it may be time to pick up the pace- and reduce your time on the treadmill.

I’ve put together three simple and effective 10-minute workouts you can try.  If you’re not already warmed up, spend 2-5 additional minutes easing into your workout.  End each workout by warming down for a few minutes.

1. 1 minute blasts. Do this workout on a cardio machine, or outdoors on foot or bike.

1 minute: moderate effort

1 minute: pick up the pace.  You should be breathing heavily and definitely NOT be able to talk.

Repeat for a total of 5 times.  Try to increase the intensity of the hard intervals throughout the entire workout (for example, run faster, or increase your RPM on the bike).

2. 30-second Ascents. Do this workout on a cardio machine, or outdoors on foot or bike.

30 seconds: Easy to moderate

30 seconds: Hard

30 seconds: Very Hard

30 seconds: Very very hard (You can do it!)

Repeat for a total of 5 times.

3. Full Body Burn

Warm up: 25-50 Jumping Jacks

30 seconds High knee running or marching

30 seconds Squats or squat jumps

30 seconds High knee running or marching

30 seconds Forward lunges or lunge jumps

30 seconds High knee running or marching

30 seconds Push-ups (knees, toes or on the wall)

30 seconds High knee running or marching

30 seconds Bicycle crunches (for abdominals)

30 seconds High knee running or marching

30 seconds Burpees (or squats)

Repeat for a total of 2 rounds.

If you have 10 minutes, you have time for to fit in your cardio training.  If you don’t have 10 minutes, find the time.  You are worth it- and so are the results!

Tanja Shaw is the owner of Ascend Fitness Coaching, a private training studio.  Tanja and her team of expert fitness professionals works to inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition.  For more fitness tips go to www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com.

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