Don't give up on exercise when you are too busy to get in a full-length workout. Even a small amount of activity can reduce stress and improve health. This simple circuit workout can be done in your living room with a set of dumbbells and takes about 10 minutes. It is fast-moving to get your heart rate up and combines both strength exercises and cardio. Do each station for 1 minute and then use 15 seconds to transition to the next exercise. Squeeze in one round and consider doing two or three if you have more time.
March In Place or High Knees
Marching in place will serve as part of your warm up. If you are already warmed up, increase the intensity and jog in place lifting your knees high towards your chest.
Squat with a Side Leg Lift
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Squat down as if you were going to sit in a chair. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor, or as close as you can get to this position. As you squat, push your bottom back to help keep your knees behind your toes.
Return to the starting position, and extend your right leg out to the right in a side leg lift. Lift only as high as it takes to feel the contraction in your outer thigh. Return to the starting position, squat, and lift the left leg. Continue to squat and alternate side leg lifts.
A jump rope is optional for this segment. If you don’t have one, mimic the movement by hopping in place. Keep your elbows close to your sides, and rotate your hands and forearms in a circular motion as you would if you were swinging the rope. Get creative and hop from side to side or on one foot for a while and then switch.
Hammer Curl with a Shoulder Press
Stand and hold dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing in towards your body. Keep your elbows tucked close to your sides as you bend at the elbow and curl the weights up. Once the weights are up to your shoulders, press them into the air over your head into a shoulder press. Return the weights to shoulder level and release the hammer curl to the starting position. Repeat the exercise performing a hammer curl and a shoulder press for each repetition.
Lie on your back. Lift your feet off the floor, and pull your knees in towards your chest. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows wide and your fingertips touching behind your ears. Rotate your left shoulder towards your right knee as you extend your left leg out, parallel to the floor. Rotate your torso and move your right shoulder towards your left knee as you extend the left leg out. Repeat, alternating shoulder to knee.
Bridge with a Triceps Press
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms into the air at chest level. Turn your palms to face each other. Raise your lower body into a bridge position by lifting your bottom off the floor so that your body is in a straight line from your knees to your upper back. Hold this position as you slowly bend your arms at the elbows and lower the weights towards your shoulders. Your elbows should be tucked in to your sides. Once lowered to just below a 90-degree angle, press the weights back towards the ceiling, returning to the starting position. Continue to hold the bridge throughout the segment as you continue with the triceps presses (see video explaining triceps press).
Kneel in front of a stair or a sturdy, low bench. Place your hands on the stair or bench a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Get into a push-up position on your toes, or lower to your knees to make the exercise easier. Just like a standard push-up, lower your chest towards the floor until the chin almost touches the bench and push yourself back up to the starting position.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Sit back into a squat position. Propel yourself upward, jumping into the air. Land in the starting position and repeat.