This 10-minute morning workout will kick-start your day and benefit you in more ways than you can imagine.

Do you wake up in the morning bleary eyed and tired? Do you sleep on the train or bus to work? Do you have headaches, or neck and shoulder pains? If so, you may be a perfect candidate for this 10-minute workout – a short routine with long-range benefits.

Power-packed workout

This workout is meant for office workers aged 35 and below. But with a few modifications, anyone can do it, according to physiotherapists at Changi Sports Medicine Centre, Changi General Hospital, a member of the SingHealth group.

The power-packed routine includes the stretching, cardio, flexibility, muscle-toning and strength-building exercises of a regular workout. One exercise – the Pectoral Stretch where you pull your shoulders back and stretch your chest muscles – relieves tension caused by a poor sitting posture, and encourages you to sit up straight while doing computer work.

The workout begins with one minute of light skipping or jumping jacks, a cardio exercise that gets the heart rate up. This can be done slowly at first to warm up, building speed towards the end of the minute. It is followed by two minutes of stretching to build flexibility in the limbs, and then a series of muscle-toning and strength building exercises before finishing off with cool-down stretches.

Doing the wake-up workout

There are eight exercises in all. Seniors ​can replace jumping jacks with brisk walking or marching, and modify some of the other exercises depending on their endurance levels.

Start warming up in bed with deep breathing exercises and trunk twists. Inhale deeply and expand your lungs as much as you can. Exhale slowly and repeat. For trunk twists, turn your hips and left leg to the right while pulling your upper body back towards the left. You should feel the stretch around the core muscles. Repeat on the other side. You can have a light snack like a slice of toast or a glass of juice before the workout, but if you have a heavy breakfast, wait two hours before exercising.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, please check with your doctor before starting these exercises.

  1. Jumping jacks (for warm-up and cardio)
  2. Jumping Jacks: Perfect Ten Minute Workout 

    • Stand with your legs together and your arms by your side.
    • Jump, spreading your legs and arms.
    • Do for one minute, warming up slowly, before building up speed to get your heart rate up.
    • Brisk Walking: Perfect Ten Minute Workout​​

    For seniors: Brisk walking or marching on the spot

    • ​Walk or march briskly on the spot for one minute instead of doing jumping jacks.
  3. Pectoral stretch (to improve posture)
    • Sit upright in a comfortable chair and lift both hands up as if you are surrendering. Then take your elbows back as much as you can and feel the strecth in the pectoral muscles in your chest.
    • Do two and hold each for 20 seconds.
  4. Quadricep stretch (for flexibility)​
  5.  

    • Hold on to something stable such as a sturdy chair.
    • Stand on one leg and hold the other leg up with your hand. You should feel a gentle stretch at the front of your thigh. Try to bring your heel up to your buttocks.
    • Stretch each leg twice and hold each stretch for 20 seconds​.​
    • ​​
  6. ​​​Hamstring stretch (for flexibility)​
    • Sit at the edge of a chair.
    • Stretch one leg and bend your body forwards from the hips, but keep your back straight. You should feel a gentle stretch at the back of your thigh.
    • ​Stretch each leg twice and hold each stretch for 20 seconds.​
  7. Wall squats (for strengthening muscles in the thigh and buttocks)​
  8. ​​

    • ​Lean against the wall with your feet pointing forwards and shoulders straight, touching the wall.
    • Slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
    • Keep your back against the wall and ensure your knees are not past your toes when you lower your body.
    • ​Revert to the starting position.
    • Do three sets of 10.

    For seniors: Just do the first two steps.

  9. Calf raises​​​ (for strengthening calf muscles)​​
  10.  

    • Start by holding onto something stable such as the back of a sturdy chair. With your feet pointing forwards, keep your knees straight and raise your heels off the floor.
    • Lower your heels and repeat.
    • Start with three sets of 10, then work your way to 15.
  11. Shoulder retracting (for strengthening shoulder blade muscles)​
    • Push your arms against your body while you tighten and move your shoulder blades inwards. Then relax your shoulders and arms.
    • Do two sets of 20.
  12. Front planks (for strengthening trunk muscles)
  13.  

    • Lying flat, face downwards on a mat, lift your body up using your toes and elbows. Keep your body as straight as possible.
    • Hold for 20 seconds and return to the original position.
    • Do one to three times.

    For seniors: If you cannot hold your position, try an easier version by doing it on an incline.

    • ​For example, prop your arms on a sofa and raise yourself up from the knees, not toes. Otherwise, eliminate this exercise from your workout altogether.
​​​Ref: O17