Let’s be honest: We don’t always have time to fit in exercise on a daily basis, even though we know that it’s important. It’s a hassle: You need to get changed, make it to class on time, and afterward, deal with potentially feeling exhausted and sore. Plus, you have to take a shower. There’s good news, though—working out doesn’t have to mean an hour per day. If you don’t have time to make it to spin class or CrossFit, make a resolution that you’ll at least hit one of these short 10-minute workouts to recharge, refocus, and help maintain a baseline level of fitness until life calms down enough to get back to your regularly scheduled exercise.
Bonus? Even a short workout has been shown to improve energy—both mental and physical—even more than a cup of coffee midway through the workday.
Quickie Yoga Flow
Let’s start low-key. A few minutes of yoga in the morning can make a huge difference to your day, reducing your stress and setting you up with healthy vibes as you get ready for work. There are thousands of free yoga video tutorials out there, and plenty of them are sub-10 minutes. Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga, has a huge YouTube archive of yoga flow videos ranging from relaxing yoga to power flows to ab workouts, most of which last right around seven minutes. You can do a video while you wait for your coffee machine to get going in the morning and not waste a minute. (Take it to the next level and create a quick flow that you can do without video instruction; super-helpful when it comes to busting out a workout anytime, anywhere—and it doesn’t need to be fancy.)
Air Squats & Push-ups
Whether you’re a regular in the weight room or a fitness newbie, combining air squats and push-ups is a great way to target all of your major muscle groups in a single quick-hit workout. Set your timer for 10 minutes, and start busting out sets of push-ups and air squats. If you can’t do a full push-up, don’t drop to your knees. Instead, brace your hands on a wall, take a step back, and do them vertically. Eventually, you’ll be able to lower further, swapping the wall for a couch or chair, and once you nail that, it’s time to do full push-ups on the floor. For air squats, focus on technique and speed: Your heart rate should be up as you go up and down, engaging your butt muscles as you drop. For added challenge, you can add a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell and hold it in at your chest while doing the squats. Start with five push-ups and 15 air squats as one set, take a 30-second break, and repeat until your 10 minutes are up. As you get stronger, you may want to increase your numbers, or do two sets before taking a break, but start small and gradually build up.
These are the cliché short workout—second only to "park far away from the mall"—but stair reps are commonly cited for a reason: They are simple and effective. If you work in an office building and can’t get out for a legit lunchtime spin class or yoga session, do the next best thing: Swap your button-down for a tank top and your heels for sneakers, and hit the nearest flight of stairs. Set a timer for 10 minutes and do stair reps tabata-style. Go hard up one or two flights of stairs, then recover on the walk back down. Repeat until your buzzer sounds and it’s time to head back to your cubicle. The stairs are great because, during this workout, you’re getting plenty of cardio, but you’re also working your leg muscles harder than you would on a flat surface, so there’s a strength training element as well.
In-Home Dance Party
This idea calls to mind plenty of movie dance party moments (Breakfast Club, anyone?), but it’s harder than it looks. While 10 minutes might not seem long, if you set a timer and dance like nobody’s watching for the full 10 minutes, I guarantee you’ll be a sweaty mess if you really get into it, and will have burned around 100 calories.
Bust Out a Set of Burpees
Okay, burpees are the worst. But from a body-weight exercise standpoint, there’s no other exercise that’s quite as efficient at boosting your heart rate after just a few reps. You may be familiar with the exercise: It’s a jump, followed by popping down into a plank, a push-up, then jumping back up and starting all over again. It’s exhausting, and you’ll be sweating in seconds. Do as many as you can—probably in the 10-to-20 range—before you need to pause to catch your breath. (If you’re new to burpees, it might only take one before you need a break!) Wait 30 seconds and recover, then do another set. Build up to 10 minutes worth of on-off burpee time.
Just Take a Damn Walk
Walk to the grocery store, go on foot to buy that bottle of rosé, take the dog a few extra blocks, call your mom and multitask a workout with a conversation. Whatever it takes, just get outside and walk. Not only will you get the health benefits from walking—including increased blood flow to your brain—you’ll be out in nature (even if nature is still just a city sidewalk with a few stubby trees), and that means you’re improving your stress levels and overall mental health at the same time. Pro tip: Speed walking looks nerdy as hell, but it’s significantly better for you than a slow pace, so speed up for at least part of your walk (matching tracksuit and sweatband optional).