Who says a workout needs to be an entire hour at the gym or hitting the pavement to mean something? Not us!

In fact, short bouts of activity can actually make a big difference when it comes to your basal metabolic rate, or the amount of energy your body uses at rest. This means there’s no reason to skip out on a workout, even on limited time.

Got 7 minutes? We’ve got 30 ideas to get moving — and hopefully sweating.

The approach Overall, the key here is to go as hard as you can during those 7 minutes to get the most bang for your buck. Many of the workouts will utilize intervals, and if you give maximum effort you’ll be able to reap the most benefit.

The workouts

1. Run

Try to make this just that — a run — instead of a jog. You don’t have to go full sprint, but make sure you’re moving fast. Keeping the pace up for those 7 minutes will challenge your endurance and really make you feel accomplished at the end.

2. Cycle

Hop on a stationary bike and spend 7 minutes doing intervals — 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off — for a workout worth every second. You could do the same riding your bike around your neighborhood or on a nearby path, too.

3. Plank routine

Complete this plank routine two times through. Hold each plank pose for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, then move onto the next plank variation. For the side plank, complete the right side in the first circuit, then switch to the left side for the second.

High plank

Reverse plank

Side plank

4. Play with your pooch

Running around with Fido for even just 7 minutes can help you work up a sweat.

5. Leg circuit

Complete each below exercise for 1 minute, resetting for 10 seconds in between. Repeat the circuit two times.


Single-leg deadlift


6. Trampoline

It’s not just for kids — jumping on a trampoline has aerobic and muscle-strengthening benefits. Hop for 7 minutes and relive your childhood.

7. Jump roping

Get your heart pumping with jump rope. Try to keep going for 7 minutes straight, varying your skip — double leg, single leg, double unders if you can — and intensity.

8. Upper body circuit

Burn out your upper body with this circuit. Start with 1 minute of ball slams, then complete this sequence twice with a 10-second break in between each exercise:

Ball slams

45-second dumbbell bench press

45-second rows

45-second narrow pushups

9. Chores

Everything from mopping to gardening to mowing the lawn is fair game for this 7 minutes of work. Pick up the pace and add a little movement to your typical routine to make things a little more intense and get your heart rate up.

10. Bodyweight

Bodyweight exercise can be more challenging than many realize. Complete 1 minute of each of the exercises below with a 10-second break in between to reset.

Side-to-side hop

Traveling plank

Bicycle crunches

Mountain climbers



11. Hill sprints

Find a hill near your home — or crank the treadmill incline up — and spend 7 minutes doing sprint intervals. Go all out for 45 seconds, recover for 15, and repeat.

12. Dumbbell circuit

Grab a set of dumbbells for this quick and simple dumbbell circuit. Complete 3 sets of 12 reps of each exercise, doing the circuit three times through.

Modified thruster

Dumbbell chest press

Lunge + row

13. Swimming

Swimming is a full-body workout. And if you’re a beginner, 7 minutes will feel like all you can do!

14. Rowing

Hop on a rowing machine to give your back and arms a workout in just 7 minutes.

15. Jumping jack circuit

Jump your way to better shape with 7 minutes’ worth of jumping jacks. Do each variation for 45 seconds with 30 seconds in between to rest. Complete the sequence twice.

Jumping jack

Rotational jack

Squat jack

16. Elliptical

A good low-impact cardio option, the elliptical can still be hard work. Crank up the resistance to make the 7 minutes worth it.

17. Skip

Yep, skip. It’s fun — and trust us — will be challenging after just a few minutes. Do your best to keep moving throughout the 7-minute span.

18. Plyometrics

These explosive movements require maximum force, thus burning major calories and putting your muscles to the test. Complete each move for 45 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, then move to the next for two rounds.


Pop squats

Broad jumps

19. Power walk

And make it brisk! If running isn’t your speed, a 7-minute power walk could be just what the doctor ordered.

20. Yoga

Although it may not seem like long enough, a 7-minute yoga flow can be just what you need to get the blood flowing and the muscles loose. Try this 7-minute yoga boost or this 7-minute beginner routine.

21. Glutes

Focus on your glutes with this butt-kicking circuit. Complete it two times through with a 10-second break in between each exercise.

1-minute goblet squat

1-minute curtsy squat (30 seconds each side)

1-minute split squat (30 seconds each side)

22. Stairs

Spend 7 minutes doing stairs or on the Stairmaster for a leg-burning workout. Work in intervals — 30 seconds fast paced, 30 seconds recovering — to maximize your output.

23. Zumba

Don’t feel silly — dance your way to a 7-minute workout. Put on your favorite 2 or 3 tracks and let your body move.

24. Cardio kickboxing

This high-energy workout combines jabs, hooks, and uppercuts with kicks and strikes for an intense form of cardio. Read more about kickboxing here and combine the moves for a 7-minute routine sure to challenge.

25. Ab circuit

Complete each of these ab exercises for 45 seconds, resting for 30 seconds in between.

Flutter kicks

Plank twists


26. Kettlebells

Kettlebells are a versatile piece of equipment that allow you to build strength and muscular endurance. Get some inspiration here for 7 minutes’ worth of kettlebell moves.

27. TRX

Also known as suspension training, TRX utilizes straps and your own bodyweight for a challenging type of exercise. Here’s a good 5-minute routine to start with, especially for beginners. Add 2 minutes of cardio — jumping jacks or high knees — at the end.

28. Resistance bands

Easy on the joints — plus light and portable — resistance bands put a new spin on strength training. Complete each exercise below for 1 minute, resetting for 10 seconds in between each, then repeat.

Leg press



29. Hiking

Albeit short, any hike is better than no hike, right?

30. Stretch

Okay, this isn’t necessarily a “workout,” but it still majorly benefits your bod. Spend 7 minutes stretching out everything for a nice reset. We’ve got a good routine for you here.

The bottom line

Get creative and set aside at least 7 minutes to work out every day for 30 days.

If you get into the habit, it can make a big difference when done in addition to other intentional daily movement, like parking your car far away from an entrance, getting up from your desk frequently, or even choosing to walk instead of driving.

Ideally, you should devote more time to workouts when you can, but don’t doubt the effectiveness of a 7-minute routine.

Nicole Davis is a Boston-based writer, ACE-certified personal trainer, and health enthusiast who works to help women live stronger, healthier, happier lives. Her philosophy is to embrace your curves and create your fit — whatever that may be! She was featured in Oxygen magazine’s “Future of Fitness” in the June 2016 issue. Follow her on Instagram.