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10-minute health boost, no gym required

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Change into workout clothes, stretch out, warm up, cool down and wash off.

Getting the recommended amount of exercise throughout the week can feel like a chore, especially after a long day at work or driving around on errands.

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Busy or not, physical activity remains an important aspect to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, said Martha Harris, healthy living director at Red Wing Family YMCA. For those times when life and work get in the way of exercising, it is still possible to stay active without turning a workout into a big production.

Exercise can be as easy as going up and down stairs in the office or at home, Harris said. “Just get up and move yourself.”

“Keep it simple,” added Jenna Hughes, a certified personal trainer at the YMCA. “The biggest thing is to never stop moving.”

All adults are advised to avoid inactivity, the Minnesota Department of Health website says. Any activity is better than no activity, and even a small amount will have health benefits.

“Lack of physical activity, combined with a poor diet, is the second leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S. and a huge economic burden on the state,” according to the MDH website.

Staying active helps prevent diabetes, heart disease and obesity, and also has been shown to improve mood and prevent depression and anxiety — making it all the more important at busy or stressful times.

National guidelines recommend adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, equating to around 30 minutes five days a week. Exercise can be split up throughout the day, but each period of activity should last at least 10 minutes.

When life gets busy and time to workout grows short, Hughes offers the following quick — but by no means easy — exercise routine that can be done just about anywhere and without a gym full of equipment:

Dynamic warm-up

  • Knee hugs: Take a step with one leg while grabbing the opposite knee and bringing it up to your chest.
  • Monster walks: With arms extended in front, keep leg straight and with each step bring it up parallel to arms.
  • Inch worms: Bend forward at the waist and touch the floor with your palm, then walk hands forward until your weight is on hands and feet. While keeping palms on the floor, walk feet forward toward your hands. A push-up can be added when body is extended with weight on hands and feet.
  • Walking lunges with back knee just hovering off the floor.
  • Workout
  • Five burpee jacks: Drop to a squat with palms on the floor. Extend legs backward into a push-up stance and spread legs out into a V shape like a jumping jack. Bring legs back together and bend them forward to return to squat position. Jump up to a standing position and repeat.
  • 10 tricep bench dips: Sit on a bench or sturdy chair with hands on the edge. Slide off while keeping thighs parallel to the ground until weight is support by arms and legs. Lower your body slowly by bending elbows, then push up to starting position.
  • 10 sumo squats: Like a normal squat, but starting with legs spread in a wide stance.
  • 10 single leg bridges: With knees bent and back to the floor, raise one leg while lifting back up and keeping your body straight. Repeat with other leg.
  • Plank: Drop into a push-up stance with forearms on the ground and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • “Repeat these exercises for as many rounds as you can in 10-15 minutes and you’ll be energized for whatever you need to conquer for the remainder of your day,” Hughes said.

“If you want a quick, 10-minute sweat, this is the best way,” she added. “It hits just about every muscle group and your core, too.”

For more information on healthy living or to set up a consultation with a personal trainer, call the YMCA at 651-388-4724.

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Michael Brun
Michael Brun is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program. He has worked for the Republican Eagle since March 2013, covering county government, health and local events. 
(651) 301-7875
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