Almost everyone is pressed for time these days, and squeezing a workout into your day is often not easy to do. However, it is possible to learn some ways of exercising more efficiently so you get a better workout in less time. Following are a few tips on getting the most out of your workouts.
Exercise both your upper and lower body at the same time – This allows you to not only save time, but also burn more calories. Use hand-held weights and pump your arms hard while running and walking, or use a rowing machine that causes you to give both upper and lower body a good workout.
Do high-intensity interval training – Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, found that shorter but more intense workouts were far more effective than longer workouts of lower intensity. Professor Martin Gibala was the lead author of a two-week study that analyzed the workouts of healthy middle-aged men who performed six sessions of high-intensity interval training for 20 minutes each. Each session consisted of 10 intervals at 90 percent intensity lasting one minute each, with a minute of rest between each interval. The results matched or were better than those from participants who practiced traditional aerobic exercise for longer lengths of time.
Gibala says, “The participants showed dramatic improvement in their exercise capacity. Before, maybe they could ride a bike pretty intensely for 25 minutes. After those two weeks, they could ride it for 50 minutes.” Some exercises that lend themselves well to this type of training are the elliptical machine, rowing machine, bicycling and sprinting. Do one minute of intense exercise at 90 percent of your capacity for one minute, then rest for one minute. Repeat this sequence ten times for a 20-minute workout and you’re done!
Vary your workouts – Studies have shown that the body becomes more efficient at a particular type of exercise if it is done repeatedly, so if you want to burn more calories, vary the exercises you do. Physical trainer Dino Novak says, “When the body is doing a set rhythm, it expends less energy than when it’s forced into multiple movements.” He advises, “For example, instead of just going for a run, do sprints — and then stop, start, turn, twist. Add motion and movement into your activity and you’ll literally keep your body expending the maximum energy.”
Listen to fast music – According to the results of a study performed by scientists at the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, subjects who listened to fast music while working out pedaled an exercise bicycle faster and achieved a faster heart rate than when they listened to slow music. So crank up the tunes!