Quick-Fix Fitness: a Busy Girl’s Guide to Daily Cardio

So…not enough hours left in the day for exercise, huh?

Sorry. Not an excuse anymore!

A solid sweat doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Therefore, the following workout plan is not only unfussy and effective, it’s fast.

Ideal for an on-the-go lifestyle, knock out these moves in just 5-10 minutes, and viola! Cardio quota met. Without compromising that all-important schedule in the process.

You’re welcome.


  •     Ski Jumps (50 Reps):
  1. Stand with your knees slightly bent and feet planted shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your arms at the elbows, and tuck them tightly into your body.
  3. Clench your hands into fists, then stack the hips and butt behind the thighs.
  4. Jump approximately 1 foot to the left and land in the same starting posture.
  5. Rest for a couple seconds, then jump approximately 1 foot back to the left.

ski jump

  • Burpees (50 Reps):
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then bend down into a full squat.
  2. Place your hands on the ground in front of you to steady the lower body.
  3. Kick your legs into a plank position with the arms still supporting your weight.
  4. Lower the body into a push-up, then hold for a few seconds and lift your chest.
  5. Jump your feet back to a squatting position, then launch yourself into the air.
  6. Clap your hands above your head and land with your feet shoulder-width apart.

burpee 1        burpee 2   

  • High Knees (50 Reps):
  1. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and arms down at your sides.
  2. Clench your hands into fists and extend the arms in front of your body.
  3. Bend your arms at the elbows to form a parallel right angle on each side.
  4. Lift your right leg, bent at the knee and pull it into your chest at a left angle.
  5. Simultaneously, twist your upper body to the right and lower your left elbow.
  6. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then lower your leg back down.
  7. Shift your focus to the alternating left leg and right arm, then repeat Steps 1-6.

high knees

  • Glute Kicks (50 Reps):
  1. Stand straight with your feet touching and arms hanging down at your sides.
  2. Shift your weight over to the right leg, while bending and lifting the left leg.
  3. Point your left foot and lift it all the way up your butt, or as close as you can.
  4. Simultaneously, bend your arms at the elbows and pump them back-and-forth.
  5. Lower the left leg, then shift your focus to the right leg and repeat Steps 1-4.

glute kick

  • Jumping Jacks (50 Reps):
  1. Stand straight with your feet touching and arms hanging  down at your sides.
  2. Bend your knees slightly, then propel your body a few inches into the air.
  3. While in the air, jump your legs out to each side, about shoulder-width apart.
  4. Simultaneously, bend your arms at the elbows and lift them above your head.
  5. When your fingers touch overhead, plant your feet firmly on the ground.
  6. Jump your legs back to the starting position and lower the arms back down.

jumping jack

Take the “10,000 Steps a Day” Challenge

Remember all those mornings you faintly mused, “I should get up and go for a run. Uh huh. I’ll do that. Definitely.” (before rolling over and falling right back to sleep)?

Don’t lie…it’s happened. But, hey, no judgment! Running isn’t exactly everybody’s first – or second or third…or fourth – choice. And admitting that doesn’t mean you just committed a fitness felony. After all, exercise should be a feel-good activity, not an instrument of torture. So, even if you don’t have the makings of an Olympic sprinter, you’re not S.O.L. There is, in fact, another (and, I’m sure you’ll agree, less grueling) way to meet your daily cardio quota. And here’s the kicker: you already do it. Constantly. Without much effort.

I mean…you walk, right?

Thought so. Well, then how ’bout walking for a workout?

Yes, it’s a thing. You really can stay in shape by simply putting 1 foot in front of the other. We’re not talking a leisurely meander though. Nope, sorry (you still gotta MOVE, girl!). I’m referring to a purposeful, powerful, pump-those-legs-and-swing-those-arms kinda walk. Put some pep in that step, okay?!

Alright. So, brisk pace. Now, let’s go even further. Allow me to introduce  the – drumroll please! – “10,000 Steps a Day” challenge. Developed by the National Health Service, this incentive offers a virtually painless solution for those, who struggle with fitting exercise into their schedules. Simply lace up those sneakers and start walking from Point A to Point B.

But, just in case you’re skeptical that such a seemingly mundane activity counts toward a legit workout, let’s crunch some numbers. According to NHS, the average person takes 1,000 steps in 10 minutes…so, you do the math: walk for approximately 1-hour-40-minutes and viola! You’ve reached 10,000 steps. Make this a habitual routine and reap the rewards of increased stamina, heart health, limber joints, and energy to burn.

STILL not sold? Taking more steps throughout the day can be as minimal as following these suggestions:

1. Opt for the stairs instead of an elevator.

2. Park further away from the mall entrance than you typically would.

3. Forego driving and pound the pavement to work (if you live close enough).

4. Stroll through the park with a friend or significant other.

5. Leash up your dog and actually let him drag you, for a change.

6. Join a cause like the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk.

7. Grab your IPod and bebop along to some favorite tunes.

8. Feel the sand between your toes along the beach.

7. Invest in a pedometer, Apple Fitbit, or Nike FuelBand and make a game out of setting (then beating) personal walking records.

Challenge. Accepted.