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Snack-Sized Workouts

Got 10 minutes to spare? Get Moving!

The concept of a micro-workout is gaining traction in recent years – studies have proven the typical 30-minute or more workout isn’t a requirement to reap the benefits of movement in your life. The science is showing a little exercise can go a long way for your health.

“Something is better than nothing!” says Lynn Hoyle, PT, Calvert Health Outpatient Rehab. CHOR provides physical and occupational therapy services at three convenient locations in Calvert.

Studies have shown that a 10-minute period of activity can boost brain power. Another showed a 10-minute workout with one-minute high-intensity intervals experiences improvement in insulin sensitivity. Other studies have shown small periods of exercise throughout the day can reduce disease risk, contribute to longer life span, and counteract the health risks of sitting for long periods.

Plus, it’s simply easier to wrap your brain around moving your body for 10 minutes than it is for 30 or more. It’s a more sustainable way to build an exercise habit. Instead of picturing yourself sweating and huffing and puffing for a half an hour or more, you know you can do anything for a mere 10 minutes. It’s easier to find a spare 10 minutes in the day than 30 or 45 minutes and it’s even easier to build in movement into the activities you already do daily.

All Movement is Good Movement

It’s easy to get into an all or nothing state of mind and think that only a 30–60-minute workout is effective and impactful to your health. However, all movement is good movement. A quick walk around the block, taking the steps whenever possible, doing a 10-minute bodyweight exercise video on YouTube in between conference calls, or taking calls outside and walking, all help you create healthy habits that impact your brain and body functioning.

“If you can do 10 minutes three times a day, it’s a 30-minute workout,” Hoyle said. While studies validate that short, yet intense bursts of movements are beneficial, it doesn’t exclude other kinds of movement from being beneficial, like a 10-minute walk, going up and down a flight of stairs a few times, or squeezing in some squats behind your desk. Don’t forget about modifications to more wellknown movements. Wall push-ups are more attainable than traditional push-ups. Try high knee raises, squats with the assistance of a chair, or quick air punches (try adding light weights or soup cans for even more impact).

Try stacking movement with other habits. While waiting for your shower to heat up in the morning, do some lunges or walk in place. Get your heart rate up with a silly dance party with the kids. Don’t forget about stretching, particularly if your job keeps you in a chair for long periods of time. Try putting your hands on the doorjambs and take a gentle step out to stretch hamstrings in your legs. Stretch your neck by moving your ear to your shoulder, then looking down to your armpit.


  • Grow With Jo on YouTube provides a variety of free workout videos, including 10-minute no equipment needed High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) videos. The videos are high-energy with upbeat music and you simply follow what you see on your screen.
  • Walk and talk: If you’re talking on the phone, walk around your house or the neighborhood.
  • Keep a set of three- or five-pound dumbbells at your desk and spend 10 minutes in between calls doing arm exercises.
  • The Body Coach on YouTube provides several 10-minute workout videos with clear explanations, encouragement, and without distracting music.
  • Learn a few exercise circuits and stack movement into other times of your day like brushing your teeth or waiting for pasta water to boil.
  • Whatever it is, use the fitness equipment you already have for 10 or 15 minutes while you watch TV or listen to an audiobook or podcast.
  • Get the kids involved and put on Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube for themed, kid-friendly yoga that incorporates real yoga poses.
  • Try a short barre workout video to build strength without pushups, planks, or jumping. Barre combines aspects of ballet and Pilates and focuses on small body movements.
  • Turn on your favorite upbeat music and host a family dance party with the rule that nobody stops moving until the timer goes off.
  • Find your own perfect workout by searching specific 10-to-15-minute workout videos online, like “10-minute arm workout,” “10-minute mommy and me workout,” or “10-minute HIIT workout.”


With hotter temperatures in the summer, it’s especially important to stay hydrated before, during, and after any size of workout. Try these tips to make sure your body is getting the hydration it needs.

  1. Invest in reusable water bottles for every member of the family. For families on the go, try ones with carrying handles. If you like your water icy cold, get a quality, double-walled metal bottle.
  2. Consider your water bottle as essential as your wallet, phone or purse. Wherever you and your phone/wallet/purse go, so should the water bottle!
  3. Pamper yourself with spa-like water infusions. Try adding in fresh fruit slices like lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit or strawberries. Cucumbers can especially feel hydrating in hot temperatures.
  4. Keep a few True Lemon® or True Lime® packets in your purse or wallet. The packets are just dehydrated citrus powder with no sweeteners for some flavor in a pinch.
  5. Keep a bottle of water on your nightstand. Commit to drinking 8 ounces of water as soon as your alarm goes off for the day and before you drink coffee.
  6. Download the Plant Nanny app on your phone to incentivize your hydration goals. Whenever you record your water intake in the app, your plant grows.
  7. Create recurring hydration reminders on your phone or work calendar to make sure you’re drinking and re-filling your water bottle throughout the day.
  8. Batch habits together. For example: when taking your medications or vitamins, commit to drinking a full 8 ounces of water afterward since you’ll already have the water in your hand. Or, after washing your hands after changing your child’s diaper, make sure your water bottle is full since you’re already at the sink.
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