10-Minute Power Walks

If you’re too busy for a 30-minute workout, here’s good news: Doing small bouts of exercise is just as effective.

When it comes to getting healthier and fitter, 150 minutes is the magic number. That’s how much activity government guidelines recommend you get each week. But if you’re crunched for time, there’s an easy solution: Break it into two or three 10-minute chunks of exercise every day. “Walking for 10 minutes can elicit health benefits and be the start of a healthy lifestyle,” says Lisa Wheeler, director of group fitness development at Equinox in New York City and star of the Weight Watchers: 7 Day Tone & Burn DVD.

Wheeler has designed three 10-minute walking workouts, shown below, each with a different goal. Pick one and repeat it two or three times during the day, or mix and match as you wish. With each one, warm up by walking at a comfortable pace for one to two minutes; afterward, cool down for a few minutes with an easy walk and stretch.

HOW TO GAUGE YOUR INTENSITY
Use this guide, based on a scale of one to five—with one being super-easy and five being all-out effort—to know how hard you should be working.

Moderate walk: 3

Power walk: 4

Speed walk: 5

Walk 1: Cardio Walk

What it does: If you want to get fitter, you need to maximize your cardiovascular endurance. In this workout, you’ll alternate slower-paced walking with faster walking (also called power walking and speed walking), which will boost your heart rate and can help get you in shape faster.

1 min: Power walk

1 min: Moderate walk

2 min: Power walk slightly faster than last time

1 min: Moderate walk

3 min: Power walk slightly faster than last time

1 min: Moderate walk

1 min: Speed walk as fast as you can

Walk 2: Fat-Burning Walk

What it does: Studies show that interval training—where you alternate between harder and easier periods of work—is one of the best ways to burn fat. This walk features several sections where you’ll be asked to work hard for 30 seconds, followed by 1-minute “recovery” walks.

1 min: Moderate walk

30 sec: Jumping jacks

1 min: Moderate recovery walk

30 sec: Skips

1 min: Moderate recovery walk

30 sec: Fast feet: Stand with feet hip-width apart; staying on balls of feet, do fast bounces with feet, moving as quickly as you can without lifting feet off ground.

1 min: Moderate recovery walk

30 sec: Jumping jacks

1 min: Moderate recovery walk

30 sec: Skips

1 min: Moderate recovery walk

30 sec: Fast feet

1 min: Moderate recovery walk

Walk 3: Stamina Walk

What it does: If you want to boost stamina, you need both cardiovascular and muscular endurance. But you don’t need to set aside time for a separate strength-training session to build muscle. This double-duty walk incorporates full-body strength training and heart-pumping cardio exercise.

1 min: Power walk

1 min: Walking lunges: With hands on hips, step right foot forward and lower hips toward ground until right knee is directly over right ankle, and right thigh is parallel to ground. As you stand, step left foot next to right, then repeat with left leg. Continue alternating.

1 min: Power walk

1 min: Incline push-up: Find a bench and assume push-up position with hands on bench, positioned slightly wider than shoulders. Keeping body in a straight line, lower chest toward bench by bending arms. Push back up until arms are straight, and repeat.

1 min: Power walk

1 min: Step-out squats: Stand with feet together, hands on hips. Step right foot about two feet to right and lower until thighs are parallel to ground, checking that knees align with ankles and are not caving in. Return right foot next to left and repeat on left side; continue alternating.

1 min: Power walk

1 min: Plank reach: Place hands on ground, wrists under shoulders. Extend legs behind you so body forms one long line. Lift right arm straight out in front of you at shoulder height, palm facing down. Release to start and repeat with left arm. Continue alternating.

1 min: Power walk

1 min: Lateral lunges: Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands on hips. Step right foot two to three feet to right, and keeping left leg straight, lower until right thigh is parallel to ground. Push off with right foot to return to start and repeat with left leg; continue alternating.

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