How to Sneak 10 Minutes of Exercise Into Your Day

Is 10 Extra Minutes of Exercise Really Worth It?

Woman exercising in living room
Image Source/Dan Bannister/Image Source/Getty Images

There's no doubt that everyone's busy, which can make regular, hour-long sessions at the gym a challenge. But when talking about health, there's no reason you have to hit the cycling studio or boot camp five days a week—what's really important is finding ways to stay active all day long. Maybe that means taking a 30-minute walk or circuit training class at lunch, but it could also mean combating sedentary behavior with incremental bursts of physical activity throughout the day. 

A sedentary lifestyle (sitting or standing without moving for long periods of time) is an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality, so finding ways to incorporate exercise into your day is an excellent way to get your heart pumping and your blood circulating while activating your immune system. 

It doesn't take much effort—try the following 10 exercises in random, one-minute bouts throughout the day (I've suggested when to try them). By giving them all a whirl, you'll instantly add 10 minutes of activity to your day. And, if you're feeling really motivated, you can check out the full-length workouts I've pulled each exercise from. 

While Brushing Your Teeth


As you brush your teeth in the morning, go ahead and bust out some air squats. You can probably do more than 20 in the span of a minute, even if you have a hard time brushing and squatting at the same time. If you're not good at multi-tasking, just try a squat hold instead. Lower yourself into a low squat, your weight in your heels, then maintain the position for 60 seconds while brushing your teeth. 

Check out the full workout >>

Before Heading Out the Door

Punch Sequence

You're going to tackle your day like a boxer entering the ring, so why not pump yourself up (and get your heart pumping) with a series of hooks and upper cuts? Perform a hook-hook-uppercut series with your right arm, then do the same with your left arm, continuing to alternate from side-to-side for 60 seconds.

Right Before a Meeting

Balancing Upright Row

When you're at work, you may not feel comfortable doing a downward dog or a deep squat, but this balancing upright row is a bit more subtle—something you can easily do in your office or cube. Simply balance on one leg and draw your opposite knee up to your chest as you simultaneously draw your elbows up and out to the side. Lower back to start and continue on the same side for 30 seconds before switching legs.

On Your Lunch Break

Neck Stretch

You've been working hard all morning, so lunchtime is a great time to release tension in your neck with a simple neck stretch. Sit tall in your chair (you don't have to be on the floor), close your eyes and tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder, allowing gravity to work on the right side of your neck and shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds before switching sides. Repeat twice to each side.

During Your Mid-Afternoon Slump

Side Plank
Mark Kuroda/Kuroda Studios

Give a side plank a whirl to wake you back up again mid-afternoon. You don't even have to set up on the floor—simply place your forearm on your desk and walk your legs out until your body forms a straight, angled line. From here, you can either hold the static plank for 30 seconds per side, or you can make the exercise more active by reaching your top arm under your body before reaching it toward the sky, continuing the rotation for 30 seconds before switching.

Before You Leave the Office

Lunge Slides
Body Conceptions by Mahri

Sure, your work day is done, but who knows what challenges you might face at home. Give your body a nice wake up call before you start home on your evening commute. Stand behind your office chair and lunge backward, stepping one foot back and bending both knees. Return to center, then do a curtsy lunge with the same leg, stepping it backward and behind your opposite leg to perform a second lunge. Continue the backward-lunge-curtsy-lunge series for 30 seconds on one side before switching legs.

While Fixing Dinner

Hey, even if dinner is just a microwaveable meal, you'll have at least one spare minute to squeeze in another exercise. Grab a resistance band, fashion it into a small loop, then perform a lunge with a triceps extension to fire up your whole body.

Start on one side, holding the top of the loop in your left hand on your right shoulder, holding the bottom of the loop with your right hand. Draw your right leg up to hip-height, then step it backward to perform a lunge. As you lower your back knee toward the floor, extend your right arm down beside your hip, pulling against the resistance of the band. Continue for 30 seconds on one side before switching sides. 

Check out the full workout>>

After Checking Email

Checking email at night can be seriously stressful, especially if you get work emails at all hours. Relieve some stress by distracting your brain with this dance-inspired move that requires serious concentration.

Grab your resistance band and fold it in half. Hold the ends in one hand and the center of the band in the other hand and extend your arms in front of your chest. Step your legs out wider than shoulder-width apart and angle your toes outward. Lower yourself into a plie squat. From this position, raise your arms over your head, keeping your elbows straight. Raise up onto your toes to engage your calves. Hold the squat and lift and lower your heels as you press out against the resistance band, widening your overhead "V" and narrowing it. Continue for 60 seconds. 

Check out the full workout>>

During Commercial Breaks

Step ups. Laura Williams

There's nothing wrong with winding down with a little TV, but don't let yourself sit still for hours. Between shows or during commercial breaks, grab a sturdy chair and perform step ups. Simply step up onto the chair leading with your right leg for 30 seconds, then switch the lead leg for the next 30 seconds.

Right Before Bed

Bent Knee Shear
MELT Method, photo by Brian Leighton

Your bedtime exercise shouldn't focus on raising your heart rate. Rather, it should help relieve stress and tension to prepare your body for rest. Grab a foam roller or roll up a yoga mat or towel to release tension in your low back and hips. Place the foam roller at your low back, your feet flat on the ground. Tuck your pelvis and draw one knee toward your chest, shifting your weight slightly to the opposite side. Hold the position for 15 seconds before switching legs. Repeat two times per side.  

Check out the full workout>>