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10-minute HIIT workouts for busy days

On a busy day, exercise is often the first thing cut from your to-do list. But you don’t need to skip your workout completely. Instead, try micro-workouts. You can still get the health benefits of exercise in just 10 minutes. What’s the secret to micro-workouts? Doing high-intensity interval training, also called HIIT, during your brief 10 minutes.

What is high-intensity interval training (HIIT)?

“High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is all about quick bursts of intense exercise like sprinting, followed by rest periods,” says Andy Gallardo, a certified personal trainer and director of employee wellness at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. “The short bursts of intensity are designed to raise your heart rate significantly, and then the rest periods bring it back down.”

All this heart-pumping action is good for your cardiovascular health. Evidence shows that HIIT workouts can help improve blood pressure and reduce your risk for coronary heart disease.1

Interval training can also help you burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. “HIIT is a good way to burn visceral fat, or the fat around your core muscles and organs,” says Gallardo. Another major benefit of HIIT is the afterburn. “Basically, this means your body continues to burn calories after you’re done exercising,” he says.

Maximize your workout time

For days when you’re short on time, HIIT is a great option. Research suggests that a 10-minute workout with 1 minute of intense exercise, like a sprint, may have the same health benefits as a 50-minute workout at a moderate pace.2

“If you only have 10 minutes to exercise, it’s important to take that time when you have it,” says Michael Fong, MD, program director and physician in charge of sports medicine at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center. “All exercise is good, and you’ll still get the health benefits from exercise even if you do it in 10-minute increments through micro-workouts.”

3 HIIT workouts – no equipment required

Here are 3 short but effective HIIT workouts to try on your most jam-packed days. These workouts can be done anywhere — and they don’t require any fancy exercise equipment. All you need is your bodyweight, a timer, and some space to sweat it out.

Quick tip: With interval training, you should be getting to the 80% range of your maximum heart rate during the intense bursts. If you can talk and have a conversation during the high-intensity bursts, you’re probably not in that range. If it’s hard to talk, then you’re likely in the right range to get the benefits of interval training.

Run-sprint-walk intervals

(10 minutes)

  • Run or jog at a comfortable pace for 3 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Walk for 1 minute
  • Run or jog again for 3 minutes
  • Sprint for 1 minute
  • Walk for 1 minute
Cardio bursts

(10 minutes)

  • 1-minute jog in place or jumping jacks
  • 10 second break
  • 1 minute of squats
  • 10 second break
  • 1 minute of pushups
  • 10 second break
  • 1 minute of wall sits
  • 10 second break
  • 1 minute of sit-ups or crunches
  • 10 second break
  • 1 minute of planks
  • 10 second break
  • 1 minute of side planks, 30 seconds on your right, 30 seconds on your left
  • 10 second break
  • 1 minute of high knees
  • 10 second break
  • 1-minute jog in place or jumping jacks
30-second burn

(10 minutes)

  • Warmup: Jog in place or do jumping jacks for 2 minutes
  • Sequence:
    • Pushups for 30 seconds
    • 30 second break
    • Planks for 30 seconds
    • 30 second break
    • Squats for 30 seconds
    • 30 second break
    • Repeat this sequence 2 times
  • Cooldown: Light stretches for 2 minutes

Note: It’s important to be safe and listen to your body, especially when trying a new exercise routine. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. And if you have concerns about working out, please talk to your doctor.

Doing short workouts is one way to help build up your fitness routine — and stick to your fitness goals. It’s still important to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day, or 150 minutes of exercise a week. “If you can carve out 10 minutes in the morning, during lunch, and before dinner, you can get 30 minutes of exercise into your day,” says Dr. Fong. It doesn’t matter how you break up your exercise throughout the week, the most important thing is that you aim for at least 150 minutes overall.

 

Find more workout ideas online.

 

1Trine Karlsen et al., “High Intensity Interval Training for Maximizing Health Outcomes,” Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, July 1, 2017, Volume 60, Issue 1.

2Jenna Gillen et al., “Twelve Weeks of Sprint Interval Training Improves Indices of Cardiometabolic Health Similar to Traditional Endurance Training Despite a Five-Fold Lower Exercise Volume and Time Commitment,” PLOS One, April 26, 2016.

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