If we had to think of one time of year that makes it particularly difficult to stay motivated to move, it has to be winter. On cold, snowy days, the couch just seems to have that magnetic pull. That’s probably why fitting in an hour-long workout feels nearly impossible. The good news: Squeezing in just a few minutes of movement does the body (and mind) some good and doesn’t require a big commitment to maintain a healthy, consistent workout routine.
Enter: movement “snacks” or short bouts of exercise that last, say, 10 minutes each—and a 14-day workout challenge that will get you in the mindset of moving consistently, even if not for long.
Research backs up the benefits of short bursts of activity, particularly when it comes to breaking up your time spent sedentary. One study found that just five minutes of exercise can lead to better blood flow to the brain, helping improve your focus, while other research found that batches of moderate-intensity activity (even just two minutes of bodyweight squats) can support muscle building. The World Health Organization’s 2020 update on activity guidelines even mention that activity breaks of 10 minutes or less can provide protection against early death. And finally, recent research from the University of Sydney suggests that a quick one-minute blast of vigorous-intensity movement can help you ward off all-cause, cancer-related, and cardiovascular disease-related mortality.
More From Bicycling
With that in mind, we designed this 14-day workout challenge to help you maintain your fitness and get those movement snacks in each day for the next two weeks. Read on to find out exactly how each workout can benefit you, your riding, and your health—plus, how to adjust them so that you only need to set aside approximately 10 minutes.
DOWNLOAD PDF FOR CLICKABLE LINKS
Day 1: 10-Minute Full-Body Workout
This workout provides complex (fun!) exercises that work more than one muscle at a time, so you build total-body strength in a short amount of time. Even better: It doesn’t require any equipment so you can essentially practice it anytime and anywhere, even while on vacation.
Day 2: Cadence Drill
Practicing cadence drills is a great way for cyclists to improve their pedaling efficiency, while also kicking up their physical activity levels. More specifically, practicing these drills will help improve neuromuscular control and muscular endurance. So, grab your bike, trainer, and bike computer, and practice one of the drills in the article—the first takes 11 minutes and the second, 12 minutes.
Day 3: Practice Yoga
Research shows that yoga can help you deal with work-related stress, among other causes of tension. So, not only can a regular practice support a healthy mental state, but it can also help you stretch out tight spots, improve mobility, and simply make you feel better. Today, take ten minutes to practice five sequences of sun salutations, moving with your breath. Or, choose your favorite poses in the article and create your own flow.