Updated: August 26, 2011

You know you should exercise more. You want to exercise more. But sometimes it's tough to squeeze a full workout into your busy schedule. The good news: A number of published studies show that you can stay in shape and burn enough calories to maintain or lose weight by doing mini-workouts throughout the day. In fact, research has shown that short bouts of exercise-as few as three 10-minute sessions-are just as effective as long ones, provided the total cumulative workout time and intensity level are comparable. Repeat any of the following exercises for a minute.

  • Jumping jack Stand with feet together, then jump, separating legs and raising arms overhead. Land with feet hip-width apart, then jump feet back together and lower arms.

  • Stair running Run up a flight of stairs, pumping your arms, then walk down. Vary by taking two stairs at a time.

  • Jumping rope Do a basic boxer's shuffle or two-footed jump. Stay on balls of feet, not jumping too high off ground, elbows by your sides.

  • Squat jump Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bend knees and lower hips into a squat. Jump in air and straighten legs, lifting arms upward. Land softly, lowering arms.

  • Split jump Stand in a split stance, one foot a long stride in front of the other, then bend knees and jump, switching legs to land and pumping arms in opposition to legs. Alternate legs.
  • Step-up Step up on a curb, stair, or sturdy bench with one foot, then the other, then down one at a time; repeat.

  • Alternating knee lift Standing tall, bring one knee toward your chest without collapsing rib cage; twist opposite elbow toward knee. Alternate sides.

  • Hamstring curl Standing tall, step sideways with right foot, then bring left heel toward buttocks; pull elbows in to sides. Alternate sides.

  • Jog in place Jog in place, lifting knees up; swing arms naturally in opposition. Land softly, ball of foot to heel.

  • Side-to-side leap Place any long, thin object (such as a broom) on floor. Leap sideways over object, landing with feet together.
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