In a recent study, five healthy men performed sprint interval training on a stationary bicycle (five 30-second intense intervals with four minutes of easy cycling in between). Although the men were sedentary the rest of the day, they ended up burning 200 more calories during the days they did the short bout of exercise than the days they didn't exercise at all.
Even though this was a small study, the encouraging results are reason enough to add intense intervals into your workout routine. It's also good news for those of you who can never seem to fit a full workout into your day. Read on for ideas on intense exercises you can do anywhere for 2.5 minutes so you too can reap the afterburn benefits.
Perform these at maximum intensity; you can break them into 30-second or one-minute intervals to make it more manageable.
- Jumping jacks. These do-anywhere moves pump up your heart rate in no time.
- Mountain climbers. This cardio move helps strengthen leg and core muscles as well. .
- Burpees. Swiftly moving from standing to squatting to push-up position challenges all your muscles.
- Running up stairs. Run up and down the stairs at home or at your office — you'll get the added bonus of a toned backside.
- Walking lunges. These lunges help you develop balance while strengthening your core and lower body. Do these briskly, but make sure your form stays correct to prevent knee or ankle strain.
Aim for at least 150 minutes a week; that's 5 sessions of 30 minutes or 10 sessions of 15 minutes each.