Exercise: most of us hate it and wish we did it more often. The key? Finding a routine that doesn’t take too long but also doesn’t try to pack two hours of work into four minutes, leaving you feel like you’re lucky to be alive. Over the last couple of years, tons of of quick exercise routines you can actually stick to have surfaced. Pick one and get started this weekend.
Simple Circuit Training
Circuit training workouts are great because you can pick a few key exercises for the day and just keep doing them for 20 minutes (or until you can’t go on anymore). The downside, of course, is that these workouts tend to be a little difficult in the beginning but if you stick with them and don’t expect too much of yourself right off the bat, you’ll get in better shape with a small time commitment.
Our guide to getting a complete workout with nothing but your body features plenty of simple exercises you can start with. Just pick three to five that focus on different parts of your body and swap them out with other routines during the week. You can also spend different days concentrating on specific parts of your body (e.g. arms, legs, or core) when you want more focus but try to work in some sort of cardio whenever possible. For some assistance, check out previously-mentioned mobile and webapp Sworkit. It creates randomly-generated circuit training workouts, walks you through them, and tracks your progress. The app is free to use, but a pro version offers additional features.
Tolerable Interval Training
Interval training proves that you only need about 20 minutes worth of exercise per day to get in shape. Like circuit training, interval training tends to require harder work for a shorter amount of time but it can be a lot easier than you might think.
Researchers found that the single most effective exercise regimen may be spending 20 minutes on a stationary bike performing micro intervals. You simply pedal slowly for 12 seconds, pedal as fast as you can for 8, and then repeat this process 60 times (for a total of 20 minutes). The exercise itself isn’t that hard, but it requires a lot of attention. Thinking about exercising for 20 minutes can feel like torture even when it isn’t. To help solve that problem, I developed an app to keep you on track with this specific flavor of interval training. That way you can watch TV, listen to a podcast, or engage in a variety of other activities and only sort of pay attention to the fact that you’re working pretty hard.
A Comprehensive Micro Routine
A full body workout doesn’t require a gym or much time at all. In fact, you can manage on in just seven minutes. The American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal highlighted an effective, quick routine that uses your body weight to provide a comprehensive work out and help you get you in better shape. Like the bike interval training method mentioned about, this routine was essentially developed in a lab to find a simple and quick way for people to exercise on a tight time budget. If you’re in a rush, this is the routine for you.
Don’t Forget About Your Diet
Exercise is only one piece of the puzzle. A healthy diet matters just as much. Different diets work better for different people, so you’ll have to find the right one for you, but you should be able to make a significant impact by simply limiting your portion size to only what you need and making healthy substitutions for unhealthy foods. Whatever you do, don’t expect exercise to turn you into a Greek sculpture. Diet matters, too, so don’t make it an afterthought!