Small efforts glean big rewards

Posted on: 9th March, 2018

Category: Sport & Fitness

Contributor: Tania Presutti

Danish freelance journalist and fitness professional Tania Presutti, who now resides in Clonakilty, delivers a series of efficient DIY fitness exercises you can do at home.

‘Mange bække små, gør en stor å’ (translated roughly from Danish meaning; ‘Many small streams, makes a big river’). This is the best way, I can describe my own dedication to the 10-minute-a-day programme, which I launched this January.

Throughout January and February, I have set aside 11 minutes a day for training, four to six days a week. In the beginning I stuck religiously to the programme, including the order of exercises, sets and breaks, but eventually it evolved into other types of training, both out of necessity and boredom.

And the result has been great in many respects. I put on some muscle again, my arms look more ‘toned’ and jeans more ‘packed’. I also realised when trying out different 10-minute programmes that lungs and heart also seem to have benefitted, despite not being pushed for that long or that hard.

But mostly, I feel an immense satisfaction about the continuation itself, both due to feeling rewarded by the physical changes, but also the 10 minutes have provided me with a sense of doing something nice for myself every day.

Taking time for yourself every day is hard, unless you’re single or have a very understanding family. Otherwise it’s often easier to forget your own needs to fulfill the ones of others. However taking 10 minutes a day is so short, that it should be possible for even the busiest of us. And when you first make it a habit, your surroundings will get used to it and give you time; even a little two-year-old.

For the programme itself, there were also a lot of benefits in sticking with it day in and out. Especially when I drilled the original programme; I could follow each exercise development, from learning the move, to mastering and exploring it. Take for example, the weighted sidesteps. To begin with, I barely squatted, as I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to stand up again. But little by little I learned to trust my balance and legs to squat butt to ground and get up again. Also the ‘Squat to turn and punch’ was hard for me, as I had chosen to work with 5kg dumbbells and they got heavy in the end to lift and punch. This never really got easier, but I did get stronger – which was the whole point.

Alternative 10-minute programmes I tried out:

10 minutes of 30 seconds Burpees/ 30 seconds push ups for 3x 3 minutes, one minute break in between.

10 x 100 metre sprints (Not entirely sure of the time spend on this, as I also did 400m warm up and 400m cool down).

Low impact exercises: Hip Thrusters, Firehydrants, Push Ups, Back raises, Supermans and back kicks.

I would add, that while they all are good to do, I wouldn’t have gotten much muscle on my arms from the above (aside from the first alternative), so I would definitely recommend working with a pair of dumbbells. So to cut this one short: Yes! The 10-minute-a-day does work, but you have to put in the effort and continuation to get results (like with everything else).

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