Great news for busy folks who want to be more active: you can reach the recommended 30 minutes a day of physical activity by breaking it into three, 10-minute chunks.
That sounds reasonable, don’t you think? Carving out a dedicated half hour might be tricky, but 10 minutes a few times a day seems way more doable! So, if you aren’t a gym person (like me!) then this type of physical activity might be right for you.
Physical activity has lots of known benefits, like reducing the risk of numerous chronic conditions, including coronary artery disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. The physical activity should be moderate intensity (so, you won’t be panting like a bulldog at the park in July, but your heart rate should be elevated. If 10 is the hardest you can move, moderate is about a 6 out of 10)
So, got 10 minutes? Here are some ideas for getting active:
(If you have health concerns or have been inactive, please consult your healthcare provider before starting any new activity.)
Get off the bus a stop or two early (or park farther away):
This one doesn’t sound too enticing during the great Canadian winter, but, keep up a good pace and you’ll be warm enough. I’ve been doing this lately, and I’ve come to enjoy arriving at my desk with my heart pumping and my cheeks rosy from the fresh air! Snowy where you are? Be sure to wear proper footwear and keep your hands out of your pockets for balance if you are doing this one! And, keep your head up – don’t text and walk.
Have an active walking meeting:
Instead of meeting a coworker for a coffee or in an office, ask for a walking meeting instead. Some studies suggest exercise boosts creativity, so your ideas will flow along with your blood!
Living room dance party:
Before hitting “play” on your latest Netflix binge of choice, pick three songs and have a 10-minute living room dance party. Clear a safe dancing space (watch out for the coffee table!) and shake your body! Dancing has also been found to improve mood, so this is a fun one! Get the whole family dancing!
Set up an in-house 5-station circuit:
This idea comes from Mark G. Anunciacion, physiotherapist at the Holland Centre. Set up a five-station circuit in your home and spend two minutes at each station. No gym and little to no equipment required! If you aren’t sure what’s right for you, consult a local health care professional. They can give you further details about correct body mechanics and what exercises might be best for you.
Here’s some ideas for circuit stations you can do inside your home.
- Quarter wall squats (Stand with your back against a wall and then push down into a squat position. Knees must not pass ahead of toes) with forward reach of arms as you squat.
- Marching with arm swing.
- Countertop push-ups (wear your running shoes to avoid slipping)
- Chair rise (sit-to-stand motion. knees must not pass ahead of toes)
- Seated rowing with a theraband (resistance band)