No Time for Exercise? Try These (10 Minute or Less) Workouts

When life gets hectic, your fitness routine is probably one of first things to go by the wayside. But if you can squeeze in a mere 10 minutes of exercise a day, it can go a long way toward helping you stay in shape.

Short and Sweet

"Some exercise is (always) better than nothing," says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a doctor, exercise and nutrition expert, and author of Dr. Dean's Future Health Series and The Complete Natural Guide to Womenís Health. She says, "Short workouts are beneficial, according to interval training theory." Interval training is a style of exercise that alternates short periods of intense activity and periods of rest that allow the body to recover. Interval training allows the body to burn more calories even at rest, so you continue to get benefits even after your exercise is done.

Quick interval exercises can also be great to target problem areas, build strength and endurance, and relieve stressóimportant mental and physical health benefits.

Three Quick Exercise Routines

Here are some of Deanís favorite quick exercise routines:

  • T-Tapp has good workouts that "multi-task" the body. Many short exercises are free on their website or YouTube, or you can buy workout programs designed to meet your needs and circumstances. You can select all-over exercises or opt for ones to target problem areas, such as your stomach. The website also offers an interactive component to allow people to share their successes and motivate each other. You can view the offerings at
  • The New York Times Scientific 7-Minute Workout incorporates different types of exercises, including stretches, core challenges for the midsection, arm and leg exercises, strength training, and aerobic activity. The multi-step routine includes squats, planks, push-ups, lunges, running with high knees, and much more. Performing the workout can give you a quick, all-over body boost. "All this workout lacks is endurance," Dean says, so she suggests adding a walk to supplement this approach. You can view the workout at The New York Times Well Blog.
  • Yoga and Pilates routines can also be beneficial and can give all-over body rewards. "I follow and recommend an MD, Dr. Gail Dubinsky, who has a website that offers DVD's and yoga routines of different times and intensitiesóthereís even one for gardeners," Dean says. You can view the offerings at

Spread it Out

With any type of exercise, Dean says itís important to remember that it doesnít have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. "You just have to do a few minutesóbut several times a day," she says. Squeezing workouts in whenever you have a little break can make your exercise manageable.

To help incorporate your quick exercise routine into your busy day, Dean suggests using your smartphone or computer to set up reminders or to access quick exercise routines you can do at work or on the go. "What works for me is to stand at my computeróthat's an exercise in itself. When I have to think for a minute or wait for a URL to come up, I do some sort of exercise, much like the ones in the 7-Minute Workout," she adds.

Seeing Results

A great part of performing quick workouts is that you can also see results fast, Dean says: "They can immediately help posture and breathing and circulation." This positive feedback builds momentum, and you will likely feel encouraged and want to continue to exercise on a regular basis. Over time, the results will continue to accumulate: "After doing exercise consistently for several weeks, people are amazed at how much better they feel, and because it doesn't involve driving to a class, paying money, or showing up at a particular time. It suits people's busy schedules," Dean says.

After the Workout

But itís important to know that your job isnít over once the workout is complete. After exercise, "Itís important to replenish key minerals, especially magnesium, which is both an energy mineral and a recovery mineral," Dean says. ďJust keep in mind that not all forms of magnesium are easily absorbed by the body." Magnesium citrate powder mixed with hot or cold water is highly absorbable and can be sipped throughout the day, she adds.

Carolyn Dean, MD ND, reviewed this article.


Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, member of the medical advisory board of the Nutritional Magnesium Association. Email interview, Nov. 15, 2014.

"Gail Dubinsky, MD: Rx Yoga." Accessed online Nov. 20, 2014.

"The Scientific 7-Minute Workout." The New York Times Blog. Accessed online Nov. 20, 2014.

"The Wellness Workout that Works." T-Tapp. Accessed online, Nov. 20, 2014.