Updated: Dec 28, 2020
I have a 10 minute rule when it comes to my fitness and I’ll tell you what it is and explain to you why it can be so helpful to your overall health, not just your fitness. Especially if you’re someone that’s a bit all or nothing when it comes to exercise or you find it hard to keep up any regular type of training regime, you may find this is a really useful strategy.
Now before you think ‘why is a Naturopath writing about fitness?’, I was also a Personal Trainer for almost 15 years so I do know a thing or 2 about it, but this is actually more about healthy habits than it is fitness.
I used to train daily, sometimes several times a day depending on what fitness classes I was teaching or clients I was training. Once I stopped doing that for a job, I really lost a lot of motivation for training or even being in a gym at all. Then I had kids and lost even more motivation and so on and so on, you know the deal, we’ve all been there at some point!
Now I follow a 10 minute training ‘rule’ and it’s made all the difference to keeping me on track.
My 10 minute rule is that I only commit to 10 minutes of training 4 days a week, and these are some of the reasons that I find it's a really helpful approach.
· The first important point is that I would say that at least 70% of the time I would end up doing more than 10 minutes. I would rarely do over 30 minutes but usually, it’s just getting started that’s the hardest bit and once you’re on a roll, you can run a little further or do a few more sets no problems.
· The intensity of the training is greater. Meaning that if I know I have to do an hour, I would train slower or lighter sow I know I can get through the session. If I know that I may only end up doing 10 minutes, I train harder, faster and more efficiently to make the most of the time.
· There’s none of the guilt or feeling bad that you didn’t train or didn’t do enough. If I do the 10 minutes then I’m completely fine with what I’ve achieved. Although I usually end up doing more, I’m totally happy that I at least did something and some days I’m just not up for it and that’s ok. I still feel 100% better than I would have if I did nothing.
· The idea of only having to do 10 minutes of training is far less daunting than 30 minutes or an hour when you aren’t in the mood, so it changes your whole perspective and there’s less negative feelings around the effort that’s required.
· I always find that any training, even if it’s only 10 minutes, means that you make better choices at your next meal so overall, your diet is improved even with a small amount of training.
· You’re also likely to drink more water. More than half of my clients drink way less water than they should when they first come to see me and that’s one of the first things we will work on. Doing any training, even if it’s only 10 minutes, means you’re likely to have another glass of water or 2 afterwards, and that’s a win!
· Any training at all will help to increase blood flow to the organs which includes the reproductive organs. When this happens, it can help to decrease symptoms like PMS, improve skin and have a significant impact on improving mood.
· There’s a particular study that shows that doing only 60 seconds of vigorous push ups at the onset of a panic attack, can be more effective at stopping it in it’s tracks as medication. Yet another reason that short and sharp exercise shouldn’t be discounted as being extremely effective. As a side note, I also use the mineral celloid Magnesium Phosphate as one strategy with clients that have anxiety or panic attacks with great success. Many have said that they no longer have anxiety attacks at all when used acutely and at an appropriate therapeutic dose.
· You increase bowel motility and reduce digestive symptoms like constipation.
· Everyone has 10 minutes available. In a society where busyness is rife and even glorified to some extent, most people feel they don’t have time to exercise and look after themselves. Some days 30 mins or more to train might seem like a stretch on top of everything else that has to be done, but everyone can find 10 minutes somewhere in their day.
· Slowly but surely, even 10 minutes a few days a week makes you just that little bit stronger and little bit fitter. Before you know it, 15, 20 or 30 minutes doesn’t seem so hard and those longer sessions end up happening more and more often.
As with any healthy habits, being consistent is more important than how perfectly you implement the change. Whether it’s eating better, training more, drinking less coffee or more water, doing it consistently for the long term is much more effective than the all or nothing cycle that often happens.
It’s the same with training. Just start, be consistent and one healthy habit leads onto the next and the real change starts to happen.