Busy Day? Here's a 10-Minute Workout You Can Do Anywhere

woman doing high-knee warmups
Though it might not seem like 10 minutes of exercise will make a difference, science argues otherwise.
by Lindsay Tigar

No matter how hard we try and how much we plan, there are some days when a visit to the gym just isn't going to happen. No need to worry! Squeeze in a 10-minute workout instead.

Though it might not seem like 10 minutes can make a difference, science argues otherwise. According to a recent study, a short workout with a quick burst of high-intensity cardio moves is super beneficial and could be just as effective as a longer session with less oomph. Not only can it energize you, but it also can improve your cardiovascular health.

The best news about a brief sweat-inducing interlude? You can squeeze in fitness anywhere — whether you're at your desk, waiting in line, or in your backyard or living room! Here's a minute-by-minute guide to a mood-boosting and calorie-burning 10-minute workout.

Minute 1: Warming Up

Before beginning your 10-minute workout, it's important to loosen up your muscles to prepare for the routine. So spend a few minutes marching in place as you reach both arms above your head for a full-body stretch. Then do a few jumping jacks to warm up both your upper and lower body and add a bit more cardio to the mix. Now you're ready to jump in!

Minute 2: Squats

This exercise may look simple, but it works many muscles at once. Depending on your fitness level and any potential injuries you're working through, squat as low as you can without causing pain or discomfort — but no lower than the point where your thighs are parallel to the ground. Remember, it just isn't worth it to go lower than what is comfortable. Engage your core as you return to a standing position. Repeat the movement as many times as you can during the minute, resting when needed.

Minute 3: Triceps Dips

Take a seat on a bench or a stable chair and place your hands on either side of your hips, gripping the edge. Now walk your feet out, removing your glutes from the chair. Bend your arms and lower your bottom down toward the floor. Straighten your arms and repeat. Triceps dips are a isolation movement that's accessible to any fitness level because you can dictate how far to dip. They engage your abs, your arms and, of course, your endurance since they target mini muscles that are difficult to reach. After you've completed as many dips as you can in 60 seconds — resting whenever need be — trust us, you'll be ready to move on to the next part of your routine!

Minutes 4 and 5: Front Lunges, Reverse Lunges

Now that you've fully exhausted your arms, it is time to turn your attention toward your legs. For minutes five and six, rotate between front and back lunges on both your right and left sides. Of all the moves you can mix into a routine, lunges are among the most effective — they strengthen your stomach, tighten your glutes, abs, and quadriceps, improve your hip flexibility, and overall, condition your body.

Minute 6: Wall Sits

Not only does this move enhance your posture, improve your strength, and fire up your glutes, but it can also help you focus once you return to your desk. If you've ever tried a wall sit before you know they can be difficult to maintain, so take a break halfway through if you need to. Just make sure when you're performing the exercise that your legs are at a 90-degree angle to avoid any discomfort or slipping. Keep your back straight and engage your core. Reaching your hands out in front of you can be a helpful way to keep yourself sturdy and straight.

Minute 7: Planks

Lucky number seven? Depends on how you feel about planks! Though you probably have only performed planks on the ground, you can also do the same exercise against a wall to save space or to take pressure off your wrists. From side to forearm to planks on your hands, this move is beloved by trainers. How come? It works wonders for every part of your body, especially your core.

Minute 8: Cardio Burst!

Remember how the study mentioned above found that a quick burst of intense cardio could make a 10-minute workout beneficial? Well, here it is. No matter if you do burpees, jumping jacks, sprints, high knees, or butt kickers, pick your own heart-raising poison and work as hard as you can. It's only a minute — so give it your all!

Minute 9: Pushups

Perform a few pushups against a wall, on an incline, or on the floor, with your blood still pumping, to add some intensity to your chest and arms. Even if you need to use your knees, pushups challenge your upper body to an extreme. Just make sure to maintain your alignment and take your time.

Minute 10: Cooling Down

Now is when you should stretch everything — your back, your legs, your arms, you name it. Even a short workout requires some TLC for those muscles. Once you've stretched your muscles, drink some water, have a small snack that provides you carbs and protein, and hit the showers!

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.