“Most people, no matter what their fitness level, neglect flexibility, which can lead to tight muscles and potential injuries,” says Amy Dixon, a personal trainer whose newest DVD is Give Me 10! 10 Minute Workouts for a Total Body Tone Up (Stockyard, 2009).Dixon. This routine is easily done in comfortable street clothes, yoga mat optional. What’s more, 10 minutes of using your breath mindfully brings down stress levels and helps clear your mind, boosting concentration and productivity for the rest of the day. Repeat each pose three to five times.
1. Cat/cow pose. Kneel on all fours, with elbows over wrists and hips over knees. Inhale, lifting your chest toward the ceiling as your belly sinks toward the floor. Slowly exhale, rounding your spine toward the ceiling as your head sinks toward the floor. Repeat.
2. Downward dog and plank. Kneel on all fours with your palms to the floor, slightly in front of your shoulders; flatten palms and spread fingers, pushing them into the floor. Inhale, and turn toes under. Lift your pelvis and straighten your legs, making a v-shape with your body. Create length through your spine. This is downward dog position. Exhale, and shift weight forward so that shoulders are over wrists and body is straight. This is plank position. Return to downward dog, and repeat.
3. Hybrid lunge. Lunge, with left knee bent 90 degrees in front of you and right leg extended behind you. Place your hands on either side of your left foot. Inhale, and raise both arms overhead—biceps near ears—and exhale, bringing hands back down to the ground. Repeat with right leg forward.
4. Cobra. Lie on your stomach and place hands, palms down and fingers spread, directly under shoulders. Keep elbows close to the body. Inhale, lifting your chest off the floor; focus on lifting and opening from your heart. Hold for up to 1 minute, breathing slowly. Exhale; then lower.
Other 10-minute workouts:
>>Cardio challenge: Walk up and down a stairway briskly; every other time up, skip a step to work your leg muscles as hard as your heart.
>>Major-muscle circuit: Do as many push-ups as you can for 40 seconds; then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat 40/20 with squats (just use your body weight), crunches, and lunges. Repeat circuit twice.