We are all crazy busy, so it is nice to hear that short workouts can work for you. I have to say, the New York Times Well section has some great articles.

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So first off, you have to get started.

To benefit the most from really, really short workouts, you need to build the habit of doing them into your hectic life. Ideally, you’ll complete the workout three times a week. The best way to build that habit is to start small and be willing to tweak your schedule where you can to accommodate your new workout.

First set up a spot in your house for your workout, equipped with whatever you need to get the job done: sneakers, a chair, a towel, etc. Then slot your workout in before you would normally shower. (You can even do it in the bathroom.) Or wake up five minutes earlier and do it first thing in the morning, so you can head off to work feeling accomplished. Or do it during your lunch hour. Run up your office’s stairs or grab a private conference room for just a few minutes. Or work it into your commute. If you walk or bike to work, add some heavy intervals on the way home.

I love the adding heavy intervals on the way home from work. I feel like that is my work day some days. “How was your day?” “I had some really heavy intervals today”.  I totally get it

How does it work? What Is H.I.I.T.?

Short Workouts 101

High-intensity interval training — referred to as H.I.I.T. — is based on the idea that short bursts of strenuous exercise can have a big impact on the body. If moderate exercise — like a 20-minute jog — is good for your heart, lungs and metabolism, H.I.I.T. packs the benefits of that workout and more into a few minutes. It may sound too good to be true, but learning this exercise technique and adapting it to your life can mean saving hours at the gym. If you think you don’t have time to exercise, H.I.I.T. may be the workout for you.

You can try it with any aerobic activity you like. The principles of H.I.I.T. can be applied to running, biking, stair climbing, swimming, jumping rope, rowing, even hopping or skipping. (Yes, skipping!)

The downside? Even though H.I.I.T. lasts only minutes, the workouts are tough, requiring you to push your body near its limit.

How Intense Is High Intensity?

High-intensity exercise is obviously not a casual stroll down the street, but it’s not a run-till-your-lungs-pop explosion, either. Think breathless, not winded. Heart-pounding, not exploding. Legs pumping, but not uncontrolled.

You don’t need any fancy heart rate monitors to do these workouts. Use cues from your body as a guide. In the middle of a high-intensity workout you should be able to say single words, but not complete whole sentences. So, if you can keep chatting to your workout partner during this workout, pump it up a few notches.

Check out the NY Times article for workouts from 4 to 30 minutes.

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