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This equipment-free home workout boosts health in 10 minutes

Woman demonstrating a stretch at home before completing a 10-minute home workout

A 10-minute burst of regular cardio is enough to make a difference (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

No matter how much we loath to admit it, we all know that cardiovascular exercise is good for us.

Whether it’s heart health, lower blood pressure, better lung capacity and even mental health (you don’t need us to tell you that exercise pumps out endorphins and happy hormones).

But let’s face it, not all of us have the time – or the inclination – to commit to a 30-minute run or an hour-long walk around the countryside. 

But what if we told you that you could get all those benefits and more in just 10 minutes — no fancy equipment needed?

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is all about working as hard as you can for a short period of time before taking a short rest and doing it all over again. 

As Steve Doidge-Harrison, personal trainer and cofounder of Bio Skin & Wellness, tells ‘Simply put, you do a series of exercises, at a very high intensity, interspersed with short recovery intervals.

‘The exercises can consist of anything from cardio, body-weight or weighted movements.

‘The ‘work’ (exercise) and ‘rest’ (recovery) periods can vary from 10 seconds to over a minute.

‘HIIT could be considered the best “bang-for-your-buck” type of training there is.’

The pros and cons of HIIT

The benefits of HIIT are pretty decent: it’s time-efficient, you get results fast and you feel amazing afterwards.

But before you get too excited, it’s important to recognise that while HIIT is great, it isn’t the be all and end all. 

As Steve explains, you can only really do HIIT a couple of times a week – because of how intense it is — and it should be coupled with other forms of exercise, like low intensity steady state cardio (LISS), like running or walking to see long-term results. 

Not to mention, training HIIT all the time may lead to burn out and your motivation may dwindle if you’re not working towards a long term goal, like running a 5K, for example. 

Try this 10-minute at home workout to boost heart health and happy hormones

All that being said, if you’re time poor and looking for a way to fit exercise into your routine, Steve’s HIIT workout could be exactly what you’re looking for.

All you need to do is set your timer for as long as you’ve got (10 to 20 minutes is optimal – you shouldn’t be able to do a HIIT workout for longer than that) and repeat the circuit as many times as you can in the allotted time. 

Warm up

Spend three minutes warming up with gentle cardio such as jogging on the spot or skipping.

Be sure to start slow and build intensity over the three minutes. 

Squats – 20 reps

Woman performing squat

Keep your weight back as if you’re sitting down (Picture: Getty Images/Westend61)
  • Perform 20 squats, keeping your heels down and your chest up – get as low as you can.
  • You can do them without weights.
  • Take a 20 to 30 second rest.

Press ups – 15 to 20 reps 

Drop to your knees to make the exercise more manageable (Picture: Getty Images)
  • Perform 15 to 20 press ups (or as many as you can).
  • Keep your core bottom squeezed and your shoulders down, and make sure you have good form for every rep.
  • You can perform press ups from your knees if necessary.
  • Take a 20 to 30 second rest.

Reverse lunges – 15 to 20 reps each side

Be sure to drive through your heels (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
  • Take a long stride back, slowly lower your back knee towards the ground, keep your hips forward and your chest up. 
  • Drive through your front heel to step back to the start. 
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Take a 20 to 30 second rest.

Mountain climbers – 15 to 20 reps each side

Keep your core engaged (Picture: Getty Images/Westend61)
  • Start in a press up position and draw one knee under your chest, keep your hips steady and body still. 
  • Step back and draw the other knee. 
  • Alternate legs.
  • Take a 45 to 60 second rest.

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