Despite what most people may think, you don’t really need much time to exercise.
In fact, even ten to twenty (or yes, twelve) minutes of hard exercise several times a week it is enough to burn fat, build muscle, increase strength and contribute to an active and healthy lifestyle.
Which means, no matter how busy you are, we are all have time to exercise.
After all, you just have to think about the time you lose on social media, watch TV or be inefficient all day long. You can easily shave a few minutes of your daily chores and have enough time to warm up and twelve minutes HIIT or circuit training most days of the week.
But sometimes endurance isn’t really based on the real time training requires. It is the energy needed to prepare for it.
Maybe your stress levels are higher or your energy levels have been so low that you keep talking about yourself outside of a workout. Or maybe you just don’t want to sweat and then have to shower.
These are understandable excuses, above all during a pandemic. We are all struggling right now, myself included. But when it comes to exercise, being fit and fit isn’t as black and white as the fitness world is trying to make it look like.
This is one of my problems with the average person understanding a typical gym workout: either they go to the gym for 45 minutes or they don’t have any.
The reality is that something is always better than nothing when it comes to movement. Going out for a fifteen minute walk instead of doing the strength training you had planned to do that day might not be what you expected, but it is significantly better than doing nothing.
Fent something related to movement: whether it’s a short walk, a few sets of push-ups or push-ups, or ten minutes throwing baskets on the driveway or playing catch with your child is always better than doing nothing.
If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, give yourself time to move around every day. And if you’re not sure where to start, I have some suggestions.
Add micro workouts throughout the day
An extremely effective way to keep fit when you are busier than normal or have a mental hurdle to do a full workout is to add micro workouts during the day.
(I saw someone on Twitter once calling these micro workouts “exercise snacks” and I thought it was really great).
Basically, instead of doing a full workout, you just need to add reps throughout the day.
For example, try scattering some of the following options during semi-frequent work breaks:
- 10 push-ups
- 15 body weight occupations
- 5 extractions (get a stretch bar for the door for convenience)
- 10-15 minutes walk
The key here is to keep the challenge level low enough so that you don’t feel a mental barrier to doing the number of repetitions.
You can play with whatever works for you: fewer repetitions and more sets, or fewer sets and higher repetitions. Your goal is to find an easy enough solution that you don’t postpone, but that challenges you throughout the day. You can gradually increase the number of reps and sets as you get stronger or keep them the same if your goal is maintenance.
Try Tabata Training
If you have a few minutes left, you can also try a Tabata workout. These workouts take only four minutes to complete, but they are not at all easy. To do a Tabata workout properly, you have to do your best. Pretend you are running a bear as fast as possible during each interval and you will move at the right pace.
Although difficult, Tabata workouts are one of the most efficient forms of training. Research conducted by Dr. Izumi Tabata in the nineties has shown that Tabata workouts can have aerobic benefits similar to a 60-minute moderate-intensity cardiovascular workout.
The following is an example of a Tabata-style workout without equipment that you can try:
Set a timer to eight rounds of ten-second and twenty-two intervals: rest on the ten-second intervals, and then do everything in the twenty-second (8 x: 10 x: 20) .
Take a tour of these exercises to end up doing four rounds of each:
- Knees high
You can find other Tabata training ideas here.
Note: Remember to never work completely cold. Even with a Tabata workout, you should warm up a little earlier, especially if it’s cold outside.
Stop thinking all or nothing
If you’re busier than usual or feeling stressed or overwhelmed, sometimes reserving time for a “full” workout can be daunting (yes, even if it’s only twelve minutes). Try to get away from a total or no mentality around movement and start adding mini workouts during the day.
Add simple exercises, such as a quick set of push-ups, bodyweight squats, or stretches every 30 to 45 minutes when you’re at home (set a timer if you need to), and go for a short walk to take a break. It may not seem like much, but all of these brief episodes of movement throughout the day add up and still provide you with the same benefits of a longer, harder workout.
“Don’t be afraid to grow slowly, just be afraid to stand still.” – Chinese proverb
What is your favorite strategy to add movement to your day? Share with me in the comments!