Modern day life is full of contradictions. Whereas the quality of life has generally improved due to advances in technology, healthcare, transport, education and virtually every other sector of the economy, new challenges have arisen in areas that were not considered problematic traditionally. With our lives growing busier by the day and the ever increasing demand for more efficient productivity in our chosen income generating activities, time is increasingly becoming a rare and scarce resource. This is affecting even our ability to exercise, as we seek to squeeze every possible coin out of our time.
The importance of working out and exercising can never be overemphasized. Despite the huge advances in the fields of medicine and healthcare, we are yet to come up with a viable alternative to physical exercises. This has put us all in a fix, as we seek to achieve optimum physical fitness within a very limited timeframe in our very busy daily schedules. To help you overcome this dilemma, we are going to guide you through a workout regime that is low in time demand, but high on effectiveness and intensity. Welcome to this guide that we hope provides you with useful tips to help you start. Maintain and improve on your workout regime, plus some of the best workout routines under fifteen minutes.
- Choose an exercise Routine That is Convenient
Having time constraints on your exercise regime means that you have to choose the most convenient option available. Examine your schedule critically and decide on the most appropriate exercise time that would allow you maximum concentration with minimum interruption. This will help you establish an exercise routine that is regular, predictable and easy to observe, thus increasing its efficacy. Common options are, before work (for example stop at a gym on the way and shower there), immediately after work, or even during your lunch break!
- Choose an appropriate exercise regime
Individual exercise needs are many and varied. Some people work out with the aim of losing weight, others to regain physical fitness and others to simply maintain their current physical fitness. Choose the workout method that helps you achieve your desired goal, given that you have a very short time within which to attain the same, in your daily routine.
- Intensity is Key
When exercise time is constrained, you need to maximize on the intensity of each routine to achieve maximum results. Basically this means minimum rests in between reps during your workout. To achieve the best results, eliminate the rests altogether.
- Use the readily available means
Before you invest in various high end gym and workout equipment, you need to develop discipline and fidelity to a regular and predictable, yet physically intensive workout regimen. Otherwise, all the top notch gym equipment in the hands of an undisciplined individual are akin to expensive toys in the hands of a spoilt child.
A good workout involves most if not all of the muscles of the human body. Concentrating on a routine that favors a specific body will build that specific region up at the expense of the rest of the muscles. The following exercise routines are aimed at giving a balanced end result by ensuring that the whole body benefits equally from whichever exercise routine you employ.
Swimming is one of the most physically intensive exercises known to man. It exercises all muscles in the human body without bias or favoring a particular body region. It is also low impact, so it is suitable even if you have chronic joint pain.
Five advantages of establishing a 15 minute swimming workout routine are:
- Swimming requires very little warm up. You just need to get into your swimsuit, hit the water and proceed to swim nonstop for fifteen minutes. In terms of utilization of the short time available for a 15 minutes workout routine, this is clearly a big advantage.
- It is easy to gauge the intensity of a swimming workout session through manageable milestones. Swimming for leisure is markedly different from a swimming workout session. Leisure swimming does not need to have a discernible pattern as the goal here is basically relaxation. Swimming workout sessions on the other hand require a predetermined pattern in the way of laps, either across or along the length of the pool. You progressively improve upon either the time taken to complete a number of laps in the pool, or the number of laps taken within fifteen minute workout period.
- Swimsuits are generally very tiny in size. This means that you can easily squeeze a swimsuit into your handbag or briefcase as you head to that important business meeting, ready to hit the pool once you are done. Wearing a swimsuit is basically undressing. The proximity of showers to the swimming pool also works to your advantage as you are able to take a quick shower once done with your workout, and head back to the office within thirty minutes of leaving, without any signs that you just had an intensive workout session,
- Most modern hotel facilities include a swimming pool, so you can stick to your routine even if you travel for work. Investing in a pool membership would be a good idea for persons aspiring to adopt swimming as their workout routine. Choose a pool close to your home or workplace to ensure that you hit the pool within the shortest time possible during your designated swimming workout time.
- Swimming is very physically intensive. When your workout session is short and you need a routine that is intensive, uses all body parts and requires no warming up or cooling down, then swimming is your answer!
Like everything else in life, swimming workouts also have disadvantages, which are:
- You need to be a competent swimmer to attempt swimming as a workout routine. Beginners need to learn the basics first and advance, before they can take up swimming as their workout routine.
- You need a swimming pool, a lagoon, a beach or any other appropriate water body for this workout routine to work. In the absence of such, then this routine is totally useless, no matter how passionate you are about it.
#2 Gym Based Workouts
If you are lucky enough to have gym facilities within your residence or workplace, then by all means take advantage of the same in your workout routines. The following is a list of five common gym exercises that can be incorporated into your workout sessions. You can choose three intense exercises, each running for five minutes or all the five exercises with each running for three minutes or any other combination, adding up to the available workout time. Whichever combination you pick, ensure that your exercises cover the legs, your core, (stomach/abdominal muscles) your chest and arms.
- Lunges: These basically strengthen the thigh and leg muscles. You control the intensity of this particular exercise by the speed applied or holding weights in your arms as you perform the lunges. You need a set of dumb bells and an exercise mat to make this particular exercise effective.
- Press ups/ pushups: Pushups are primarily used to exercise and strengthen the chest, core and triceps. There are a number of variations to this exercise, depending on the position of the hands and whether both legs are used or just one. It is useful for those individuals seeking to build their upper body muscles and strengthen their core. You need an exercise mat and an exercise ball to successfully conduct all variations of this exercise.
- Treadmill run: Running on a treadmill benefits the legs and builds up your lung capacity, thus improving your oxygen uptake and enhancing your stamina during exercises. To maximize on the intensity, you can set your treadmill speed at your maximum capacity and make your exercise akin to a sprint, to maximize on the intensity. This is also a great cardiovascular exercise and will strengthen your heart muscle.
- Pull ups: For individuals seeking to build their biceps and triceps, strengthen their core and build their upper body muscles, pull ups are the way to go. You need good standard horizontal bars to conduct this exercise. A number of weights can be tied to hang from your waist, to make the exercise harder and more intense.
- Bench presses: Bench presses are used to build the abdominal, (core) chest muscles, triceps and biceps. You need a standard gym bench and weights to successfully conduct this exercise. For maximum results, add the weights lifted gradually, beginning with the lightest and working your way upwards. Every time you lift a weight comfortably without physical exertion, move to the next level to make the exercise more challenging.
If possible, gym goers should attempt all of these exercises without a break in between, in fifteen minute workout sessions. Once you have built up consistency and stamina in your daily workout sessions, strive to make each exercise harder and more intense to ensure that maximum benefits are drawn from each workout session. This can be achieved either by increasing your speed or increasing the weight involved in an exercise, or a combination of the two!
- Gym time can be very interesting. There are so many variations available for each exercise that it’s hard to fall into a boring routine. Keeping it interesting avoids taking the wind out of your sails and bringing your workout sessions to a grinding halt.
- Most gyms employ professional trainers. As such, you are likely to have a trained professional available to guide your workout sessions, thus making them more effective.
- Gym subscriptions can be costly. They require somebody who has the funds and discipline to see such a workout routine through. Unfortunately some people may be lacking in either, which would render this particular workout routine inappropriate in their case.
#3 Easy Home Based Workouts
Sometimes, we may have the zeal to exercise, but lack in the financial capacity to take up a gym subscription or the skills necessary to take up a swimming workout routine. You may also have the financial means but lack either the time or the facilities necessary to facilitate gym or swimming workouts. Whatever your circumstances, there are a number of easy, “do at home” exercises that can be conducted within the comfort of your home.
- Planks: Planking has been in rage for a while now. It is a deceptively simple exercise which basically involves holding position ad watching the clock tick down, but it is very effective in strengthening the glutes, arms, shoulders and your core. The longer you can hold a plank, the more effective it is as part of your workout regime. The best part is that you only need a clock to countdown the seconds and you are ready to work out.
- Sit ups: Sit ups as exercises have many variations that ensure that even the most physically unfit person can comfortably handle sit ups of some sort. These will strengthen your core and glutes and need only a flat surface on which to perform them.
- Stretches: Although stretches are used to warm up or cool down during long exercise sessions, you can up the ante and rack up their intensity to incorporate them into your workout routine. Depending on the type of stretch applied, you can strengthen the calf muscles, biceps and triceps and your core.
- Leg Raises: As the name suggests, leg raises involves raising the legs at the toes and lowering them, while maintaining them in a straight posture. In addition to calf muscles, this exercise improves the core as the abdominal muscles are utilized in raising the legs.
- Crunches: There are many variations on crunches such as the bicycle crunch, the v crunch, the reverse crunch, among others. These are applied depending on the body part that someone wishes to strengthen.
- These exercises can be done within the comfort and convenience of your home.
- No extra equipment is needed, so you can seriously get started today.
- While these can be great to start to honing your discipline, you may max out your time-to-exertion ratio without adding some type of resistance.
The above exercises may be done at home, but they are not necessarily easy. You need to cultivate discipline and stamina to ensure the success of your workout routines. Make your workout more intensive with the passage of time to ensure that the maximum benefits are derived from each workout done.
In conclusion, it is indeed very possible to have the best possible workouts within a period of fifteen minutes. The key in this case lies in ensuring that maximum intensity is achieved within the shortest time possible. After all, it is the quality of the workout session that matters, not the quantity of time spent in each workout session. Hopefully, you now see that your super demanding and busy schedule doesn’t necessarily have to stop you from exercising. Spare fifteen minutes every day, and you will be well on your way to a fit and healthy lifestyle in no time!!