The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Fitness: This affectionately titled post pertains to those of us (yes, I consider myself in this category more often than I’ll admit!) who don’t necessarily like to work out but know it’s imperative to do so in order to remain healthy and fit.
And for those of us who desire results with the least amount of work, we’re in luck: “The really good news is that more and more research is finding that short bursts of exercise activity can yield major results like shedding body fat and improving cardiovascular fitness,” shares Scott Danberg, MS, director of exercise at the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa in Miami, Florida. “That’s right, you don’t have to work out for long bunches of time, like 30 minutes or more. Often, just 10 minutes or less is all you need.” (We agree—that is really good news!) However, “the only caveat is that you’ve got to pick up the pace and really feel your heart rate increase and sweat fly,” Danberg says.
Recently published research1) discovered that people who ran on a treadmill for just four minutes, three times a week, “significantly improved a wide variety of health biomarkers after just 10 weeks, including blood sugar, blood pressure, and body weight,” he continues. “Results like these are encouraging for those of us who don’t like to work out and want to spend as little time as possible in the gym. Sure, you’ll probably hate those four minutes each day. They will be grueling, but they’re just four minutes.” (Four minutes well worth it, we say!)
Additional ways to achieve results with the least amount of work is to “distract yourself” when you’re on the treadmill, exercise bike, etc. “Pair your workout with something you really enjoy doing, and the time will fly!” Danberg tells us. He offers two activities Pritikin guests have found that work:
- “Love juicy novels?” he says. “Don’t allow yourself to read them except when you’re working out. You may even find that you look forward to your workouts.”
- Plus, “walk-n-talk with a best buddy. Second best: Call your buddy while working out. Put the speaker phone on, and let your arms fly,” he recommends.
“Another exercise-is-done-before-you-know-it trick is the Pajama Workout, a favorite here at the Pritikin Longevity Center,” Danberg says. “Either in the morning or evening, actually, whenever you’re nice and cozy in your PJs and puttering about the house doing chores, slip in four basic strength training exercises. Do 12 chest presses, then empty the dishwasher. Sit down for 30 crunches, then take out the trash. Stand in front of the mirror for 12 bicep curls, then dust that mirror. Do 12 squats, then jump in the shower. You’ve just finished an effective all-body workout, plus chores are done!”
1) Tjønna AE, Leinan IM, Bartnes AT, Jenssen BM, Gibala MJ, et al. (2013) Low- and High-Volume of Intensive Endurance Training Significantly Improves Maximal Oxygen Uptake after 10-Weeks of Training in Healthy Men. PLoS ONE 8(5): e65382. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065382