Don’t have time to fit a long workout into your busy schedule? A fifteen- or twenty-minute workout is a great alternative to none at all, says Jane Bogordos, fitness supervisor and exercise physiologist at Franciscan Omni Health and Fitness in Schererville.
In order to make the most of a short amount of time, Bogordos recommends high-intensity interval workouts. These workouts combine short bursts of high-intensity exercise with lower-intensity recovery periods, typically one minute of high-intensity exercise, such as jumping jacks, followed by one minute of recovery time, such as light jogging.
Not only are these workouts more effective than steady, moderate intensity exercise, Bogordos says, but you burn more calories. “You have a good three to four hours afterward where you’re burning way more calories [than after a lower-intensity workout],” Bogordos says, but only if your level of intensity is high enough.
Bogordos suggests using the Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale to measure the level of intensity of your workout. The scale runs from 0 to 10, with 0 representing an activity you find easy and 10 the most difficult. “High-intensity spurts should get close to 7 to 9 on that scale," Bogordos says. “When you’re recovered, you should be closer to 3 or 4.”
At Franciscan Omni Health and Fitness, Bogordos offers thirty-minute “lunchtime workouts.” For cardio-only circuits, Bogordos does one-minute spurts of sprinting, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, steps, squat jumps, or speed skating, mixed with one-minute recovery periods of walking or jogging.
Cardio/strength circuits consist of one minute of cardio exercise, followed by a minute of recovery, then a minute of a strength move and another minute of recovery. Strength options include walking lunges, push-ups, tricep dips, planks, etc.
“What I love to do is on the combination moves, like a shoulder press with lunge,” Bogordos adds.
Those new to high-intensity workouts may need to begin with ten- or fifteen-minute circuits or take two minutes of recovery time. “You have to figure out what your fitness level is,” Borgordos says. “At the end of your recovery time, you should be ready to go again.”
As with all workouts, be sure to warm up for at least five minutes and allow ample time for cool down and stretching.