|A short workout is better than none|
By Andrea Renee Wyatt, M.S.S., C.S.C.S.
Q: Due to my unpredictable schedule, I often have only 30 minutes for my exercise routine, which is supposed to take an hour. Sometimes I don't even bother to exercise because I don't think 30 minutes is enough time to really do anything. Is there a workout I can finish in just 30 minutes?
A: Thirty minutes of exercise is better than no minutes of exercise. Although you may have an exercise routine that should take one hour, condensing your workout to 30 minutes when necessary is possible and can keep you on track toward your fitness goals. Try to stay active and on a schedule, even if it is for a shorter amount of time.
For starters, commit to exercising three days a week. Not only will it keep you on track, but it can keep you motivated to continue to exercise instead of waiting until you have an hour to commit to your workout.
A great way to condense your workout is to complete a true circuit, which incorporates back-to-back weight training and cardiovascular exercise. For example, after a short warm-up, you can complete a leg press for one set and 12 repetitions, then between sets when you would normally be waiting to start the next set, you can complete two minutes of cardio, such as the bike or treadmill, at a high intensity. While your heart rate is still raised, continue to the next set on the leg press. Move from exercise to cardio and back until you have completed your entire weight circuit. Do this two out of the three days a week you are exercising. (Also, remember to allow muscle groups to rest a day in between workouts.)
Make the remaining day of exercise an all-cardiovascular day. Use your 30 minutes to complete an aerobic workout, either by a machine such as the treadmill or bike, swimming, or walking, running or cycling outside. Try interval training, which varies your heart rate throughout your workout to make it more difficult. Challenge yourself to work hard for the entire 30 minutes.
It may take a few workout sessions to master completing a circuit in 30 minutes, but it can be done. During the three days you work out, stick with exercises you are comfortable with, and use great form and technique. Don't compromise safety just to complete your routine. When you have the time for your full one-hour workout, do it. But on the days you're pressed for time, use the condensed 30-minute workout to keep moving toward your fitness goals.
Always consult a physician before beginning an exercise program. Andrea Renee Wyatt, M.S.S., C.S.C.S., is a certified personal trainer with an extensive background in strength and conditioning as well as therapeutic recreation. If you have a fitness or training question, e-mail Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org or write her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
(c) 2006 King Features Synd., Inc.