Want to reduce weight but don’t have the time? Arnold Schwarzenegger’s challenge, asking people to dedicate just 1% of their day – basically 15 minutes – to keeping fit, has had fitness enthusiasts pumped. Several have recommended short workout plans that they guarantee will yield sweet results.
Yes, they work
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends healthy adults perform moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week or vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, three days a week, in addition to strength training. Sessions should be no shorter than 10 minutes.
But for those with busy schedules, or gradually building up endurance, shorter sessions can also be beneficial. Short sessions also provide more after burn (of calories) and lessen the monotony of a workout.
A 2005 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that short bursts of vigorous exercise can improve performance. Sixteen participants performed six sessions of sprint interval training over two weeks. Towards the end, participants took significantly longer to fatigue, suggesting improved endurance.
But are you fit for it
Intense exercise increases risk of injury so it’s important to consult a medical professional before starting a rigorous program. Short workouts are also less likely to help you lose weight. Despite the better after-burn, those who choose a quick fix tend to burn fewer calories than those in it for the long haul.
If you choose a short workout, you must do it at least two times a day for maximum benefits. It must also be supplemented with strength training to build bone strength and muscle tone. Fitness magazine suggests performing 15-minute high-impact cardio routines that work a variety of muscles.
- The star squat, which works the abs, arms and legs Put your feet together and your arms at your sides. Squat low and put your palms on the floor in front of you, directly beneath your shoulders. Then, kick your feet directly behind you into push-up position. Go back to where you started, and repeat for 15 minutes.
- The lunge kick, which tones the abs, buttocks and legs Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your side, bending your elbows. Lunge forward with right leg while swinging your left arm forward and right arm back. Alternate between sides for 15 minutes.