If you’re like most people over 50, you’ll find any excuse possible not to take 1 hour out of your day 3-4 days a week to go to the gym and work out. The most popular reason is, I just don’t have time and the second most popular is, I’m tired, I don’t feel like it. You really may believe that, but there’s an easy, fast workout you’ll want to know about that can keep you fit. All you have to do is make better use of 10 minutes, twice a day.
No Time For Exercise: A 10 x 2 Workout Is The Answer
While you’re waiting for your morning coffee to brew, or your dinner to cook, or while watching the evening news, you could have 2, simple, but effective, 10 minute workouts under your belt for the day. They’re perfect for those days that your plate is a little too full, the weather’s bad, or you just can’t see how you’re going to get in the car, drive to the gym, workout for 1 hour, and drive home.
What many people, especially Boomers are finding, is that the answer to a time-crunched, or “too tired”, schedule may lie in doing shorter segments of exercise twice a day. They not only make efficient use of your time but they also energize you by re-oxygenating your blood. And for older people, getting more oxygen to muscles, brain and heart goes a long way in staying youthful and healthy. Decreases in muscle/tissue oxygen consumption is a big factor in why over-50 people start slowing down, grow weaker and just lose their stamina.
By taking just 10 minutes out of the early part of your day and 10 minutes out of the later part of your day, you can get in the equivalent of good cardio/resistance exercise. Researchers have come to believe that shorter, faster, more intense workouts can be of greater benefit to your heart, brain, help you burn more fat, and strengthen your muscles and bones. A study done at McMaster University in Toronto had concluded that just a few minutes of more intense exercise produces molecular changes in your muscles comparable to several hours of activity.
So, here’s an easy 10 minute workout that gives you both cardio and resistance training at the same time. The best thing is, you can do them right at home. First, you’ll want to do a total body stretch to warm up your muscles and prevent strains or pulls.
Warm-Up: 1. Stand with legs about 1 foot apart, raise arms overhead as far as you can stretch them, then bend down and try to touch the floor with your fingertips, or the palms of your hands if you can. Repeat this 4 times. 2. Stand, extend your arms out to each side and bend at the waist from side to side 4 times. 3. Stand, with arms raised, elbows at 90-degree angle, and raise one arm at a time towards the ceiling as far as you can stretch. You should feel the stretch on the side of the arm that’s rising. Alternate between each arm 10 times. Then repeat #1 for 4 repetitions. Now you’re ready for your workout.
1. Simple jumping jacks. This is one of the most energizing, oxygen-increasing exercises you can do. If you have trouble with hip, knees or ankle joints, instead of jumping, modify the exercise to step out to each side, alternating each leg, as you raise your hands overhead. Do this a total of 25 times.
2. Lunge/squat. Stand with legs together, hands on your waist. Step forward on one foot as far as you can without losing your balance, performing a partial squat on each side, so that your knee is bent at 90-degree angle. You should feel the muscles engage in the thigh of your opposite leg as you lunge forward on the other. Repeat on the other leg, total 20 lunges.
3. Arm rolls. Tightly grip a medium weight book in each hand, arms extended to your side. Circle your arms backward 20 times. Then, change direction and circle forward 20 times. Be sure to keep a tighter grip on the book as it creates more resistance on the arm muscles. You can also use 1-2 lb hand weights if you have them.
4. Cross/Crawl March. Standing, raise your knee as high as you can without losing your balance, as you swing your opposite arm up. Repeat on other side. Try to keep your arm as straight as possible and reach as high towards the ceiling as you can. Total 25.
5. Football Player/Quick Feet. Stand and jog quickly in place, your arms moving up and down, like a football player running. Do this quickly to the count of 120.
6. Towel Stretch. Take a longer bath towel, twist it into a rope and hold it behind your back, extended between your two arms. Keeping arms outstretched, towel tight, move the towel from behind you to in front of you, rolling your shoulders slowly forward and backward. One set of 10 rotations. Shake out your arms. If you have shoulder problems, skip this exercise.
7. Triceps flex. Stand, bend over at the waist, your upper arms held close to your side. Making tight fists in both hands, swing your arms at the elbow only behind you. You should feel this in your upper arms, back side, at the triceps. The tighter you squeeze your fists, the more resistance you’ll feel in your upper arms. 20 reps.
8. Jumping Jacks. Repeat #1 again. 25 times.
9. Waist Stretch. Stand, legs about 1 foot apart. Raise one arm overhead and bend, stretch to the opposite side. You should feel the stretch in your waist on side of the overheard arm. Repeat opposite arm, total 20 (10 each side).
10. Football player/Quick Feet: Repeat #5, count to 60.
You’re done! Repeat these at a 10 minute interval later in your day – after dinner, a few hours before bed is a good time.
So, take 10 minutes twice a day out of watching television, working at your computer, or just surfing the internet, to get an energizing workout. Now, it’s still recommended to do some further resistance training with either elastic bands or free weights. But, this simple workout can re-oxygenate your blood, re-energize your brain, and keep your stamina up until you can get back to the gym.