One of the biggest reasons folks are hesitant to hit the gym, or the park, or wherever you may choose to workout is a perceived lack of time.
We get it. You’ve come to the end of your workday. You’re tired and can’t wait to get into a new episode of The Crown – then you remember you promised yourself you’d exercise tonight. Cue dramatic sigh. As if you’re bothered to get changed and work your little butt off for an hour? The fact is that regular exercise is going to have incredible benefits for not only your body but your mind, too. So, yes, it really is a good idea to stick to that promise you made yourself.
The good news is, however, that you don’t necessarily need to be sweating and puffing for an hour, or 30 minutes even.
A study in the Journal of Physiology suggests you might be able to get all the exercise you need in just 20 minutes if you’re willing to work at it.
We’ve talked briefly about high-intensity interval training before, but this is one of the first studies to dig into if it actually works as a replacement for the usual recommendation of 30 minutes of continuous exercise. The idea is simple. You exercise for one minute with strenuous activity and push your heart rate to about 90 per cent of its maximum rate.
You can get a rough estimate of your heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. After the minute is up, you slow down and recover for one minute. You then repeat this 10 times for a total of 20 minutes (or 10 minutes of actual exercise). You can use this for running, cycling, swimming or any number of cardiovascular exercises.
According to Livestrong, a solid HIIT workout can see you burn between 198 to 237 calories (depending on your body) in 20 minutes. That is pretty impressive. But, of course, the important thing here is that you’re getting some movement in and that you’re feeling good about yourself.
So, if you’re crunched for time and can’t get that full 30 minutes in, this is a great way to shorten the duration and still get in shape.
[Via Journal of Physiology]
This article has been updated since its original publish date.