Time is money, and most people are bankrupt in this particular commodity. One thing many Australians struggle with is fitting regular exercise into their busy schedule, despite the fact that the Department of Health states every week we need to do two and a half hours of vigorous physical activity and five hours of moderate activity.
We have developed a few ideas for those who only have time for some quick workouts to maintain their health and fitness. Please note that we’re not experts. If you’d like specialised, individual advice, you should ask a personal trainer regarding what is best for your situation. That being said, this article contains solid grounding to get the average Aussie started.
According to exercise physiologist Chris Tzar, every Australian should be doing workouts to develop the following:
- cardiorespiratory endurance,
- muscular strength and endurance, and
Below are a few general workout ideas to get your started. None of them take longer than 15 minutes, and each requires little to no equipment.
N.B. Stretch before and after exercising to avoid injuries, speed up recovery time, and improve performance.
In secondary school, you may have participated in something called a ‘beep test’, to measure your cardiovascular endurance. A similar exercise can be used to improve your cardio. The Australian Defence Force outlines how to do shuttle runs on their website.
HIIT (high intensity interval training) can apparently fit in 30 minutes of exercise into 20 minutes. The trade off, of course, is you’re going to have to work much harder for those 20 minutes. Shuttle runs are well suited to be a part of a similarly quick session.
Here’s a few other cardio exercises:
- Stairs or hill climbs. You can go at a slower speed for this, but you’ll still feel the same kind of stress as shuttle runs.
- Skipping. It was good enough for Rocky Baboa, so why not give it a shot? Now that we mention it, simply emulate this workout routine and you’ll be in the best shape of your life in no time.
- Swimming. Sure, you’ll feel like you’re clawing through mud after four or five laps, but it’s a great all-round body workout.
Time: 10-15 minutes.
Push ups are an effective way to build muscular strength and tone your upper body. One great thing about this workout is that incremental progress quickly escalates into rapid improvement – all it takes is some diligence on your part.
- Do as many push ups as you can, and try not to take any breaks. If you have little upper body strength, do them on your knees instead of your toes, or do the exercise on an incline (your head at the highest point of elevation). Do not count how many you’re doing, just reach your ‘ceiling’ and then stop.
- Stand up and do skipping rope for one minute. If you don’t own a skipping rope, try high knees or jumping jacks. When the minute is up, you’ve completed one set.
- Repeat this four more times.
There are many more programs online, and none of them take up much of your time. Try the 100 push ups program, which starts off slow and escalates proportionate to your performance.
Not interested in the stock standard push up? Try these instead:
- Planks. We don’t mean partaking in the already passe’ craze of lying across things ironically. This is a great workout for your core, and it only requires you go into push up stance and then rest on your elbows (keep that back straight).
- Dips and chin ups. These exercises aren’t just for fitness freaks – you just need to start with fewer repititions and gradually increase week-on-week. Simply substitute these exercises into the push up routine above to mix things up.
Time: 10 minutes
Regular flexibility training
Become proficient in a few basic yoga moves, and then start practising them in front of the TV at the end of your evening or after your afternoon workout. Consider it your personal ‘quiet time’ to unwind, and take your time with each exercise.
Time: Easily kept under 10 minutes
When you should be working out
Spread out in an even manner, each day’s fitness requirements would look akin to this:
Here are some ideas to help you fit this into your busy lifestyle.
- Try splitting up long, vigorous training sessions into morning and afternoon workouts. Perhaps go for a fifteen minute run in the morning before breakfast, and a go through a strength training session straight after work?
- Moderate activity is relatively easy to fit into your day. Go for a walk to get lunch, or travel up and down the stairs a few times during your tea break to get your heart pumping. Even the act of standing for three to four hours each day can burn up to 750 calories, according to a report from BBC.
- One of our Canstar Blue staffers has a once a week session with his mate where they go for a run after work, and then watch Game of Thrones or Top Gear afterwards over dinner. You can try something similar with your friends. Join a sports team together, or have a weekend workout session before drinks or dinner.
As a general rule, we would suggest you write out your weekly schedule, detailing your commitments, and then slot in small workouts in the gaps.