Fitness in 10 Minutes

A Full-Body Workout for Busy People



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When life makes a long workout impossible, a 10-minute, total-body fitness routine can be super-efficient and effective, if done right. To maximize results, strategically order the exercises to work different muscles each time, allowing one set of muscles to rest while working another. This is the basis for a 10-step workout that Franklin Antoian, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and founder of iBodyFit, created for SilverSneakers.

The steps can be part of a regular routine or done on their own three times a week every other day, gradually working up to five days a week. Needed equipment includes a chair, light dumbbells (or filled water bottles or food cans), a yoga block (or small soft ball or pillow) and a watch or timer.

Given extra time, warm up by walking in place for five minutes, and then perform each exercise in order for one minute, doing as many reps as possible. Try not to rest between exercises. If a full minute feels too challenging, start with 45 seconds of exercise and 15 seconds of rest.

1 ARM CIRCLES. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Extend arms straight out to each side at shoulder height with palms facing down. Swing arms forward in a circular motion for 30 seconds, and then backward for 30 seconds. Keep shoulders down and back and elbows slightly bent.

2 SHOULDER SHRUG. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold dumbbells with arms down, palms facing inward. Slowly raise shoulders as if trying to touch the earlobes. Pause, and then lower and repeat. Continue for one minute. Make it easier by doing slow and controlled reps without dumbbells.

3 WALL PUSHUPS. Stand at arm’s length away from a wall with feet hip-width apart. Place palms shoulder-width apart on the wall. Bend elbows and lower the upper body toward the wall, keeping the core tight and straight. Pause, and then press back to the starting position and repeat. Continue for one minute. Make it harder by taking a step back from the wall, pushing out from a kneeling position.

4 SEATED ADDUCTION. Sit in a chair with a yoga block between the knees. Press knees together to squeeze the device, pause for three seconds. Relax and repeat. Continue for one minute.

5 HIP EXTENSION. Start on hands and knees with palms flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Align the neck and back while looking down or slightly forward. With foot flexed and knee bent, slowly raise the right foot toward the ceiling until the thigh is parallel with the floor. Pause, and then lower. Continue for 30 seconds, and then repeat with the left leg. To make it easier, try it while standing, keeping the lifted leg straight, and hold the back of a chair for support.

6 BRIDGE. Lie face-up on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Press heels firmly and raise hips to form a straight line from shoulders to knees. Pause for three seconds in this position, and then lower and repeat. Continue for one minute.

7 CLAMSHELL. Lie on the floor on the left side, with hips and knees bent 45 degrees, the right leg on top of the left, heels together. Keeping feet together, raise the top knee as high as possible without moving the pelvis or letting the bottom leg leave the floor. Pause, and then return to the starting position. Continue for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.

8 SEATED KNEE RAISE. Sit at the front of the chair with knees bent and feet flat, holding onto the sides for balance. Keeping the knee bent, lift the right leg about six inches off the floor. Pause for three seconds, and then lower and repeat with the left leg. Continue alternating for one minute.

9 BICEPS CURL. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold dumbbells with arms at each side, palms facing forward. Keeping the upper arms still, bend both elbows to bring the dumbbells as close to the shoulders as possible. Pause, and then slowly lower and repeat. Each time arms return to the starting position, completely straighten them. Continue for one minute. Make it easier with slow and controlled reps without using dumbbells.

10 TRICEPS EXTENSION. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold the end of one dumbbell with both hands. Position arms so elbows are pointing up, with upper arms by the ears and the dumbbell behind the head. The neck is aligned with the back; with shoulders down and back. Keeping upper arms still, straighten the elbows until the dumbbell is overhead. Pause, and then slowly lower and repeat. Continue for one minute. Make it easier by sitting in a chair.


Locke Hughes, of Atlanta, GA, contributes content to SilverSneakers, a community fitness program that helps older adults maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve well-being. Learn more at SilverSneakers.com.


This article appears in the March 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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