By Nicole Catanese, Photographed by Aaron Richter, Refinery29
Sure, doubling up on workouts is the new norm these days. But unless you actually enjoy spending that much time drenched in sweat, it might not be necessary if your goal is to get healthier. A recent study from researchers at the University of Arizona shows that a mere 10-minute, brisk (as in leave the Kirkwoods at home and grab your Nikes) walk, done three times a day, helped lower the blood pressure of average fit subjects other than some signs of hypertension (slightly high-blood pressure levels). And it did this more so than when they walked the entire 30 all at once.
"It's a very intelligent study," says David Kirsch, fitness and wellness expert and owner of the Madison Square Club in New York City, who gets the booties of many beauties in shape - including Kerry Washington, Liv Tyler, and Heidi Klum - and is a pioneer of 'express' workouts with his well-known In a New York Minute workout. "The number one excuse I am given by my clients is the lack of time or the intimidation factor, so breaking it down into segments is very smart." Because frankly, what can't you do for 10-minutes, right? "Anyone at any level of fitness could do 10 minutes - whether it's walking or a more intense workout - and it is a very doable time to start with and escalate from there," he says.
Of course, quickie workouts - getting in, working hard, and getting out - are not exactly new. It's just that having more science-backed feedback that proves they're legitimately good for you can take away the I'm-not-in-the-gym-forever guilt. One biggie is CrossFit, an 8-minute workout with a badass reputation for being designed for diehards. Then there are the slightly shorter variations of cult favorite classes like Chaise 23 Cardio Chair Express - a speedy version of its total body toning and cardio session in 40 minutes, not the standard 60. Or Aerobox at Aerospace, its standard boxing-inspired class in just 30 heart-pounding minutes.
The bottom line: "You need to move and engage your body every day." Of course, Kirsch does add that it's not all about the workout - and that eating nutritious food and a well-balanced diet is crucial to staying healthy, too. "You aren't going to workout then go and eat an Egg McMuffin and feel or look good," he says. "Working out like this - moderate, quick routines - complements what you are doing for your body overall, it isn't just about exercise."
Prefer to squeeze in some calorie-burning when and where you want it? Try these back- to-basics toners backed by Kirsch. Sure, they aren't fancy but you know what? They work. Do each move for two-a-half minutes each (10 minutes total); one round in the a.m. before you hit the shower, the second when you get home, and the third while you tune into The Voice (or whatever your TV weakness). Just don't try and sing along, while you bang these out. You're. Going. To. Get. Out. Of. Breathe. And then it'll be over. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.