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10 minutes' exercise a day

Sarah Horrocks
by Sarah Horrocks Published on 2 September 2008

The golden rule for a firm bod is regular exercise. You don't have to spend hours working out: 10 minutes a day is all it takes! A 10-minute workout is easy to fit into your day and can tone you up fast.

The golden rule for a firm bod is regular exercise. You don't have to spend hours working out: 10 minutes a day is all it takes! A 10-minute workout is easy to fit into your day and can tone you up fast.

See the specific exercises here.

Equipment

You'll need a few basics if you want to vary your exercises. They're cheap and will help you work different muscle groups.

A mat. If you're going to invest in just one thing, get a thick, non-slip mat so you can exercise on the floor comfortably without hurting yourself.

A pair of dumbbells. Their weight varies from around 250g to 5kg. It’s best to start with ones that weigh around 1kg, or just use small bottles of water!

A pole. Don't panic: this is only for waist exercises! You can use a broom if you don’t have a pole!

Exercise bands. These bands cost very little and take up very little space. They're great at working the muscles on the outsides of the arms, the buttocks and the thighs, and you can use them in endless different ways.

An exercise ball. These can take up space, but are great at working posture and core muscles.

Weights. Preferably light ones which will help intensify arm and leg exercises.

The workout

You can't work every muscle group in 10 minutes: you focus on a particular area every day (arms, thighs, abs and buttocks).
Even before a short session, you need to warm up to prepare your body, especially your joints, for a workout. Do a bit of skipping and a few rotations of the head, waist, arms, ankles etc.
You can either approach your workout as a circuit session or complete all the reps for each exercise before moving on to the next one.
Working your muscles intensively shortens them, so it's important to stretch down after your workout to lengthen the muscle fibre. This will improve flexibility and recovery.

Progression

Start at your level and go slowly so as not to hurt yourself.
Gradually intensify your workout by reducing your recovery time, adding reps and/or using heavier weights.
Every 2 or 3 months, change the order of your workout because the body usually adapts to the exercises and makes less progress. Revise your training plan regularly (change exercises, repetitions, weights or the sequence) to make your body work harder.

Before you start
Training for 10 minutes a day will tone you up a treat, but remember you need to give yourself at least 2 rest days (the weekend, for example). Without these you could see your progress slow down.
To ensure that you do the exercises properly, do them in front of a mirror. If you feel unusual pain in your back or neck, stop straight away as you must be doing something wrong!
Don't neglect your breathing, even on simple and low intensity exercises. Breathe in to raise or execute the exercise, and exhale to lower or release. This rhythm is essential.
Wear light comfortable clothing that lets you breathe and move freely.

Air the room before your workout, or leave the windows open if it’s warm enough.
And remember: a bit of pumping music will help you work harder!

See the specific exercises here.

by Sarah Horrocks

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