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How to exercise when you have no time

When life gets hectic, a daily exercise routine may be the first thing on the chopping block. Avril James, an exercise physiologist at Piedmont Fitness Center, shares three easy ways to sneak in a quick workout when you have no time.

1. Tabata

Tabata is a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that is perfect for those who are short on time. Tabata workouts can be completed in four minutes, but they are extremely intense.

“You do 20 seconds of a very intense full body exercise, like high knees, jumping jacks or cycling, followed by 10 seconds of total rest and no movement,” James explains. “That would be one round. And after you complete eight rounds, it's supposed to be comparable to doing 10 minutes of regular cardio.”

Tabata can help you increase your endurance and speed. And it is best suited for those who are in reasonably good shape and have no serious musculoskeletal issues, says James.

2. Intermittent workouts

Intermittent workouts are a great way to accomplish a full day’s workout by exercising in 10 minute increments. 

“When you wake up in the morning, go for a 10-minute walk,” James says. “At lunch, take a 10-minute walk. In the afternoon before you get in the car for rush hour, take a 10-minute walk. And when you get home from work, take a 10-minute walk. That adds up to 40 minutes of cardio for the day.”

To vary your routine, you can also ride your bike, hop on the elliptical machine or power walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes.

3. Aim to get 10,000 steps a day

If you’re sedentary throughout the day, get up whenever you can and take a few extra steps.

“I'm a big believer in wearables,” James says. “Fitbits, Jawbones, Apple watches. Get something that tells you to get up every hour and take at least 250 steps.”

Use the water fountain on another floor, or take a quick lap up and down the hallway.

“A little moving all day long helps metabolic function,” James says. “Although we would prefer that people did 30 plus minutes of cardio every day, something is better than nothing.”

Learn more fitness tips from Living Better.

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