Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2013, 10:27 am

10-minute fitness: Easy exercises you can work into your daily routine

Comment on this story

By Chris Greene

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck
Joan Rusk, of Rock Island, demonstrates a lunge exercise as part of the 10 minute exercises that can be squeezed into a busy day.
Although health experts have long advised a full 30 minutes of exercise a day, recent studies suggest a mere 10 minutes of exercise three times a day is enough to offer the same positive impact on our health as exercising for 30 continuous minutes. In fact, it might even be better, as it allows you to spread out your exercise throughout the day.

"Results take time, your body has to have time to adapt and change. And you don't always have to think of getting fit as 'exercise' -- it's really about movement," said Jake Villhauer, personal training director at Core Fitness in Iowa City.

Just what can you do in those 10-minute bursts to get fit? Plenty, according to Villhauer and other local fitness professionals. Here are just a few of their ideas:

"Start with a small goal, say getting up 10 minutes earlier three days a week and exercising then. Maybe go outside for a walk or pick up a full laundry basket and walk up and down your stairs for ten minutes. You can also do push-ups on your stairs."
-- Jen Foley, healthy lifestyles director, Two Rivers YMCA, Moline.

"When you are in an office setting, you can use your desk for tricep dips. You also can do wall push-ups and wall sits. Wall sits have you sitting against a wall in a squat position at a right angle and holding for 10 to 15 seconds. You also can walk up and down stairs for a virtual StairMaster -- go slower to work the quads and glutes. ... It's about moving the body, not necessarily running a marathon."
-- Nina Ko, ACSM, personal trainer, Core Fitness, Iowa City.

"Many of us spend hours at video display terminals doing many different kinds of work, but with almost the same forward flexed posture. To relieve tension that builds up from this type of work we need to stretch opposite that posture, and that means head to toe: shoulder openers that externally rotate the arms, prayer posture and reverse Namaste for the wrists, hip openers to stretch the quads, hamstrings and externally rotate the hip; and maybe the most important, spinal extension. Putting these together into a quick 10 minute stretch break should be easy."
-- Erin Phillips, assistant professor of occupational therapy, St. Ambrose University, Davenport.

"One idea is a wall press. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and basically do a push-up on the wall. You can do them anywhere. You can do squats and lunges anywhere, even in front of the TV. If you're going from the living room to the kitchen, lunge your way there. You don't need any gadgets for these -- just your own body weight. Mix it up however you want, but just get moving!"
-- Allison Mizer, healthy living director, Scott County Y, Davenport.

"You can do shoulder rolls, which especially is good if you're sitting at a desk all day. You also can do a modified shoulder press by simply pushing your arms up over your head the way you would with weights -- it's great for mobility and range of motion."
-- Joan Rusk, wellness coordinator, Scott County Y, Davenport.

"Change it up even if you're just going for a run or a walk. When you see a car, sprint to get to a stop sign before the car -- make a game out of it."
-- Lori Meighan, personal trainer, Bettendorf Life Fitness Center.

"Focus on compound movements -- squats and curls together, lunges and arm presses. Get multiple muscle groups activated," Jake Villhauer, ACSM, personal training director, Core Fitness, Iowa City.

"Switch out your office chair for an exercise ball. Sitting on an exercise ball is great for core strength. You also can stand up and do some squats. Or if you have to conduct a meeting, do it on the go — take a walk together and have your meeting as you're walking."
-- Jen Foley, healthy lifestyles director, Two Rivers YMCA, Moline.

"Jumping rope for ten minutes is difficult! Jump hard for ten seconds, take a 30 second break, and work up from there."
-- Lori Meighan, personal trainer, Bettendorf Life Fitness Center.

"You also can work on balance--this one is great for that. Stand on one leg for ten seconds without holding onto anything. Switch legs and hold for another ten seconds or so. Keep going for 10 or 20 sets. Get into a plank position on your forearms and tippy toes. Hold for 10 or 20 seconds at a time. See how many you can work up to."
--Joan Rusk, wellness coordinator, Scott County Y, Davenport.

"There are so many good DVDs out there, and a lot of great 'ten minutes to this or that' workouts. You actually can memorize them and do them anytime, anywhere. Isolate which part of the body you want to work on."
-- Lori Meighan, personal trainer, Bettendorf Life Fitness Center.

"Most of us think we need to feel the burn of a good abdominal crunch workout, but if you think about the shape we take during crunches, it actually accentuates the very forward flexed posture we are trying to get out of (from our workday)! So think about quality, not quantity for Pilates, and yes, 10 minutes of isolated work could do the trick. The Pilates breath is important and actually facilitates the contraction of the transverse abdominal muscle we seek to strengthen.
"Here is how I instruct people to 'find' that muscle. When we are trying to fit into those very skinny jeans, we attempt to flatten our tummies to button the waist ... Flatten your belly on the exhale; squeeze the air out, activate the transverse ab and flatten the lower belly. So the work is … inhale slightly, pooch the belly, exhale, pull the navel in."
-- Erin Phillips, assistant professor of occupational therapy, St. Ambrose University, Davenport.