For those of you busy at work, and finding yourself short on time, you can rest assured you can still stay in shape with some specific ways to maximise your workout.
Less can very often mean more, and short bursts of moderate to moderately vigorous exercise have been shown to burn more fat than if you were to do prolonged exercise with the same output.
To make the best out of a short workout try and pick exercises that work all the different muscle groups. Push yourself enough to be slightly out of breath, and challenge yourself – but not to exhaustion levels.
So if you are always pressed for time but know that staying in shape is important, here are some ideas for in the gym, or for those times you just can’t make it to the gym.
Even though you may be exercising for a short time – the warm up is a crucial part of any workout. It ensures your muscles are warmed up and prevents injuries as well as helping you to recover much quicker afterwards. Use rotations like circling your hips, using “front crawl” arm movements, ballet leg swings and knee lifts. Make sure you feel warm before you begin any exercise.
The really quick workout
Pick a flight of stairs, in your office or home. Miss out every other step and make sure you are pushing off with your whole foot to work the buttocks and hips as you push off. Have a rest at the top if you need to get your breath back, and then do some press ups at the top until you can’t do anymore. Run back down the stairs and then repeat.
You can also try sprinting up the steps and keep doing this repetition for 15 minutes. Colleagues may give you some funny looks if you’re trying this in the office, but make sure it’s a safe place to work out.
Other quick fixes include skipping with a rope while you count to 100, stretch out and then repeat for several cycles.
The slightly longer workout
You can simply choose to do additional cycles of the 15-minute “run up the stairs” workout, or you can do short bursts of strengthening exercises for the first 15 minutes. So you could do press ups, dips, squats and lunges, and then 15 minutes of intensive yoga based strengthening exercise. After this take around five minutes to stretch out again.
The even longer workout
If you have 45 minutes or longer to exercise, then interval training is the most effective. This involves getting your heart rate up to around 160-180 beats per minute and then gradually let it drop to 100 bpm for example.
Fast bursts of sprinting mixed up with slower jogs to get your breath back, fast intensive cycling and then slower pedalling to get your heart rate down work well.
Every few minutes during your interval work, get in a set of press ups.
Quick gym sessions
The best equipment to use if you only have limited time in the gym includes:
The Cross Trainer – this works most muscle groups so you are targeting everything at once.
Weights - if you only have half an hour you can still get a quality strength training session in as this is plenty of time to get good results from weights. Try squats with weights, lifting deadweights and the bench press.
Treadmill or rowing machine - cardiovascular workouts are important for all round fitness and stamina. If you are going to use the treadmill or rowing machine, you can set these to go all out, and then ease off to get your breath. This mimics interval training.
Exercising at work
Don’t forget your lunch break. You can do a lot in an hour, asides from eating. Go for a brisk walk, or run if you have showers at the office. You can do the running up the stairs exercise if you don’t feel too self conscious. It’s important to take breaks from the screen, not just for your eyes, but for your body. Standing up and walking around regularly benefits your physical health a huge amount. Try cycling to and from the office, if you don’t live too far away and try and combine exercising into everyday life.
Exercising at home
If you can’t go out to the gym because of children or other commitments, try a fitness DVD, or get in some gardening. Even boring old housework helps burn the calories, so think of it as a workout rather than an arduous chore.
So even if you really are strapped for time, by just making the smallest changes to you day to day life you can fit in some really good workouts without putting in too many minutes. It’s easy to make excuses for not putting in the exercise, but when it’s this easy – there’s no excuse!
by Kath Webb
by Laura Briggs
by Kath Webb
by Kath Webb
by Jessica Ambrose