Shortcuts, we all love them. Can we shortcut our exercise too? You see I love discovering new shortcuts to places in the Washington DC area where I live, but for every new shortcut, I have 3 that did not work that ended up costing me time and gas money. When it comes to fitness, many people advertise shortcuts like exercise for 10 minutes and lose 10 pounds in a week! Are these claims true?
Recently Howard Schneider from the Washington Post met with me and took one of my fitness classes as research for his article. He ended up printing the story with the headline 10 Minutes, My Foot and to sum up his insightful analysis, he says the secret of all those ultra-short Hollywood workouts is get this, they do take longer than 10 minutes. So if you buy an exercise DVD that says it's only a 10 minute workout, after you factor in the warm-up, cool-down and stretch, you will definitely spend more time than just 10 minutes. But you ask the question, can you possibly lose the weight, and get the health benefits from exercising for just 10 minutes?
Let me give it to you straight, the truth is ten minutes is better than nothing if that is all you can spare or all your body can handle. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) the US government's principle agency for health and fitness recommends that all adults should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on five or more days of the week. I want to emphasize two phrases accumulate and moderate-intensity that are always overlooked and make a world of difference.
Accumulate is so important because exercise is accumulative, so you don't have to do it all at once. Which means you can split our workouts into as many different sessions in a day that you want. Two 15 minute workouts, three 10 minute workouts or ten 3 minute sessions (you get the idea) Splitting your workout into manageable portions works wonders for most people especially those who don't have access to a gym. So you can workout at home while watching the Today show in the morning and then workout again while watching Oprah in the afternoon. I have had lots of clients lose so much weight and get so healthy splitting their workouts like this.
The 2nd phrase moderate-intensity is always up for debate, but let me give you the analogy of driving. Low intensity is driving 15 miles per hour in a parking lot. Moderate intensity is highway cruise speeds, and high intensity is being chased by the cops driving at 100mph. Bottom line, at moderate intensity you are feeling the exercise, your breathing has changed but you are not killing yourself. From a sale of 1 to 10 where 1 you are eating Pringles watching the sound of music and 10 is you trying to beat Lance Armstrong to the yellow jersey you are between a 5 - 7.5
I highly recommend interval training. Interval training is alternating between high intensity exercise with low intensity recovery periods like when you go really fast on your treadmill and then go slowly to recover, then go really fast and then slowly and you keep repeating this. It's highly effective especially if done for 20 - 30 minutes)
To summarize, if you don't have the time or your body does not like doing long workout sessions, you will be most happy to learn you don't have to do everything all at once. You can do your 10 - 15 minutes of interval cardio and then come back later on in the day or at another time and do some strength training which is also important to make sure you are building some muscle. Your goal is to make sure you get to the 30 minutes accumulation of moderate-intensity exercise in your day.
I have seen this work wonders upon wonders. The ball is in your court.
Move Your Body, Move Your Life
Published On: December 21, 2007