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4 Reasons for a Shorter, More Intense Workout

Shorter, More Intense Workout

You want a challenge.

By alternating high-intensity intervals with short recovery periods, you can get health benefits in less time while challenging your fitness. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the high intensity intervals are performed at 80 to 90 percent of your max heart rate, followed by a rest session working at 40 to 50 percent. The intervals can last anywhere from five seconds to eight minutes each and total as few as 20 minutes for a complete workout. These short workouts have been found to improve fitness, blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity.

You are easily distracted.

An hour spent on a cardio machine can leave you bored and unmotivated. This quickly leads to little things that lower your intensity and calories burned. You might stop to change your playlist, pause to flip through television channels, or slow down so you can read or send a few text messages. Short, high-intensity interval workouts allow no time for distraction. Moving rapidly from one exercise to the next, whether you are doing cardio or strength training, will capture and hold your attention. The time will pass quickly and you will have no need to distract yourself from a long and boring workout.

You skip workouts because you don’t have time.

Lack of time is the number one barrier to exercise. If you find that you skip exercise because you can’t commit a full 30 to 60 minutes, stop using time as an excuse and take advantage of shorter workouts. A 20-minute session is much easier to fit in over the lunch hour or to squeeze in first thing in the morning. Focus on reducing time and increasing intensity to make exercise a regular part of your daily routine.

You want to lose weight.

High-intensity interval training has been found to reduce abdominal fat and total body weight while helping you to maintain muscle mass. According to the American Council on Exercise, one study analyzed men and women who performed shorter bouts of high-intensity exercise lasting fewer than 10 minutes. Results showed that each daily minute of higher intensity activity lowered the odds for obesity by five percent for women and two percent for men. This result led researchers to conclude that it may be the intensity of an activity that is more important than duration when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Not only did these shorter bouts appear to reduce risk of obesity, but exercisers were more likely to reach the recommendation of 150 minutes of exercise each week when focusing on shorter, more intense sessions.

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