Leading an active life has many health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke plus a way to control body weight and overall wellbeing.
But many adults struggle to get the minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity into their busy schedules for the recommended five times a week.
If you find it impossible, don’t give up. You can achieve your daily quota by doing three shorter bursts of exercise lasting 10 minutes or more instead.
To ensure you’re doing enough to benefit your health and burn up calories when you exercise, you should feel warmer than usual, your breathing should be quicker than normal and your heart rate should be slightly raised.
Try these top 10-minute workout ideas and log onto nhs.co.uk/livewell for more tips and hints.
1. Love your garden
Weeding, digging and mowing your garden all count as moderate activity if your pulse is slightly raised and you feel warm while doing them. Gardening for 10 minutes will burn 53 calories.
2. Play with the kids
Finding time every weekend to do something active with your kids helps to keep the whole family fit – so try trampolining or playing football together.
3. Skip yourself fit
Skipping is good for the heart, bones, flexibility and co-ordination. And it’s inexpensive: all you need is a skipping rope, a good pair of trainers and a safe space. Depending on the intensity of your workout, skipping will typically burn between 70 and 110 calories in a 10-minute session.
4. Swap the sofa for cycling
If you don’t fancy braving the gym or the traffic, set up a stationary bike in front of your TV. Pedal away in front of your favourite shows and before you know it you’ll have done 10 minutes. Ten minutes of moderate cycling will burn around 62 calories.
5. Take the stairs
You’d be amazed how many staircases you can take in during the day and choosing to use them rather than a lift can help you burn calories as well as toning up your legs and bum. Climbing the stairs burns around twice as many calories as walking and 10 minutes of taking the stairs adds up to around 70 calories burned.
6. Get walking
Taking a brisk walk is one of the easiest ways to fit a bit of exercise into your day. Stride around the block in your lunch hour or walk the kids to school. The Department of Health recommends that you aim to walk 10,000 steps a day.
7. Workout at work
Sitting at a desk all day is an easy way to pile on the pounds. Walk over to a colleague with a message, rather than emailing them, use the bathroom on the floor above, or recruit workmates for a lunchtime walk.
8. Park and walk
Try leaving your car as far away as practical from your destination when you shop or go for an appointment and then walk the rest of the way. You will burn around 35 calories for every 10 minutes of brisk walking, and more if you’re carrying heavy bags at the same time.
9. Clean up on calories
A spot of heavy-duty housework might not be that much fun, but it can really get your heart pumping. Scrubbing, sweeping, mopping and vacuuming can count as moderate exercise. In 10 minutes of energetic dusting, you could burn around 33 calories.
10. Dance the night away
Dancing, whether at a class or home alone with your headphones on, is great fun and good exercise. If you enjoy what you’re doing you’re more likely to stick with it and exceed your 10-minute target. Ten minutes of aerobic dancing burns around 65 calories.