By Gabe Sanders Ph.D., NSCA-CSCS
If you are like most people, time is of the essence. In today’s fast-paced world, most people have a busy work schedule and family responsibilities that can limit the amount of time they can dedicate to exercise and physical activity.
In addition to time limitations, finding the motivation to eat right and exercise is another factor that can ruin your exercise regimen.
What’s the magic answer for busy people with low motivation? While there is no magic answer for these people, there are some strategies that can really help!
Engage in high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
Aside from improving your dietary habits, the next best strategy is to engage in high-intensity interval training. The term high-intensity means you must breathe hard, get your heart rate up for a short period of time and sweat, then you rest, and do it again, again, and again. This type of exercise is very beneficial for increasing your body’s ability to burn calories at rest, improve the function of your heart, and improve your overall fitness levels.
Interestingly, research has found that high-intensity interval training can produce the same changes in skeletal muscle and muscle cells as longer duration endurance exercise. This simply means that you can exercise hard and fast to produce the same changes to your body as to when you exercise at lower intensities for a longer amount of time.
Therefore, if time is an issue, high-intensity exercise is your answer. The hardest factor to overcome is the motivation to push yourself hard for a brief period of time. Once you get the motivation down, learn to break a sweat. Once you break a sweat, you might as well sweat more, workout hard and enjoy the physical benefits that your body is experiencing.
HIIT exercises. Try these!
The type of high-intensity interval exercise research has shown to be effective is as follows:
- 4×4 training – Engage in four minutes of high-intensity work at 85% of your maximum heart rate, rest for four minutes, and repeat this process 4 times. Exercise modalities can be running, biking, rowing, or the elliptical trainer.
- 4×30 second sprints – Sprinting or pedaling fast on a bike for 30 seconds with four minutes of light active recovery between four sets can produce similar changes to your muscle and cells as 30 minutes of lower intensity exercise.
- 5×4 cycling – Biking at 75% of your max intensity for four minutes and then repeated five times can test your physical fitness. However, this is a great way to boost your intensity and your health.
Trewin, Adam James, et al. “Acute HIIE elicits similar changes in human skeletal muscle mitochondrial H2O2 release, respiration and cell signaling as endurance exercise even with less work.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology (2018).
Støa, Eva Maria, et al. “High-intensity aerobic interval training improves aerobic fitness and HbA1c among persons diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.” European journal of applied physiology 117.3 (2017): 455-467.
Helgerud, Jan, et al. “Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve V˙ O2max more than moderate training.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 39.4 (2007): 665-671.
For more examples of other variations/exercises look under Multimedia-VDF Exercise Tips
**Consult with a physician and/or medical healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen
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