It’s never realistic when someone tells you that if a person wants to work out, they’ll make the time to do it. Well, anybody whose day isn’t centered on exercise knows that this is not always the case. We just get really busy from time to time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. So what can you do if you want to get many of the benefits of exercise, but have less than five minutes for a workout?
HITT it up. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of workout that has recently become extremely popular, trendy even, because of its time-saving and fat-burning qualities. It goes like this: You alternate a few high-intensity moves with short periods of rest. You can choose how long you want the session to be, and sometimes they’re as short as four minutes. Yep, four minutes.
The American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, in a 2011 study, found that this cardiovascular routine can improve your aerobic capacity just as much as 6-8 weeks of class endurance training, like long-distance running or cycling, can. When you’re moving your body this quickly, your muscles can’t get as much oxygen as they would like, which is a good thing, because the result is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC is an increased rate of oxygen intake once the workout has ended, and it helps you burn calories and reap the other benefits of exercise long after you’ve wiped off the sweat.
Getting high-speed blood pumping through your veins doesn’t take long — and it definitely doesn’t take a whole hour. Pick one or a few of the movements below; do just a few rounds, 30 seconds on and 10 seconds rest. Remember, it’s about speed! Try to do as many as you can in the small window you’ve got, with good form of course. You’ll feel the burn in no time — and give yourself a much-needed burst of energy. Let’s beat the naysayers.
1. Mountain Climbers
Assume a pushup position with your arms completely straight. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Lift your right foot off the floor, and slowly raise your knee as close to your chest as you can. Return to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg. Continue alternating for 10-12 reps. It’s key to keep your hips low at all times.
2. Squat Jumps
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes turned out about 10 degrees. Lower into a deep squat where your hip crease comes below your knees, and reach your arms forward. Explode up out of that squat and leap into the air as high as you can, throwing your arms backward and generating as much upward force as you can. Land softly and repeat right away. Tip: Think of yourself as a spring, coiling and exploding with each repetition. Try to string the reps together evenly, and remember to breathe.
You start by standing up straight with your arms next to your body. Now bend over, squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Kick your feet back so that you’ll end up in a plank position. Now we drop to a push up. Remember to keep your core tight! Push yourself up back into the plank position. Now, kick your feet back in towards your hands. Lastly, explosively jump up in the air, arms reaching straight overhead.
4. Jumping Jacks
Those elementary school gym teachers knew what they were talking about, right? Simply jump your legs out as you bring your hands overhead, then jump back to standing.
5. Jumping Lunge
Start standing tall with your feet staggered, your left foot slightly in front of your right. Making sure you’re not too stiff, keep your stance active with your knees bent in a slight but not full lunge. With your core engaged, push off the bottom of both feet into a jump, switching the position of your feet in midair, landing in a basic lunge with your right leg in front. Without rest, repeat this movement alternating which leg is in front. To prevent injury, make sure your back leg is bent directly underneath your body and your front leg is bent at 90 degrees at the knee and hip.