You work. You work when you’re at work. And, you work even when you are home. You take care of kids. You drive your kids all day long on the weekends taking them to sporting tournaments, contests, and recitals. You’re constantly pulled in five different directions! How are you supposed to find time to exercise? You can get in good cardiac fitness in 15 minutes or less three to four times a week. Surely despite your busy schedule you can carve out 45 to 60 minutes a week. Try this exercise program.
15 Minutes to Cardiac Fitness
Step 1. Choose a cardiovascular exercise. It can be running, biking, swimming, stair climbing, rowing, etc.
Step 2. Determine your maximum heart rate. The easiest way to do this is to subtract your age from 220. So if you are 46 your maximum heart rate is 174.
Step 3. For 5 minutes exercise at a steady pace keeping your heart rate between 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. So if you are 45 your target heart rate is 87 to 122. That’s a broad range. This is a warm up. So start off at 50% of maximum heart rate and increase intensely so you approach 70% of maximum as you approach 5 minutes.
Step 4. You now are going to do interval training. Pick up the intensity so that you are working at 75% of maximum heart rate. That is a heart rate of 131 if you are 46 years old in this example. Exercise for 15 SECONDS at that pace and then take a 60 second rest (or bring pace back down to a nice slow steady pace). Do three more repetitions of 15 seconds at 75% of maximum heart rate for a total of four intervals of 15 seconds of exercise. That’s five minutes.
Step 5. Now you pick up the pace even more. You will now exercise at 90% of your maximum heart rate (do not do this if you have cardiovascular disease or risk factors for it without your physician’s clearance). For our 46-year-old out there that means exercising to get the heart rate to 157. Again you do 4 repetitions of 15 seconds of exercise with 60 seconds of rest in between intervals. That’s another five minutes.
Bingo! 15 minutes and you’re done. Stretch out your muscles, drink some water or other sports drink, take a shower, and get back to your business. Do that three to four times a week.
Your cardiac fitness will improve and by doing this type of interval training you will burn additional calories for up to 20 to 24 hours at a higher rate than if you just did steady pace aerobics. It’s called EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. You will trigger release of growth hormone and testosterone which aid in burning fat and maintaining lean body mass. That means better weight control.