Short Exercise Routines

I have previously discussed performing aerobic exercises to improve cardiovascular health and to lose weight.  We are familiar with the more traditional forms of aerobic exercises which include running, walking and swimming to name a few.  The problem with these exercises is the time factor.  All of them take time, and often this is not a possibility as we all work, spend time with our families, and so forth.  There is a technique, however, that will allow you to perform aerobic exercises in the shortest amount of time and still lose weight and improve your cardiovascular condition.

One of these is the four minute cardiovascular workout.  This was originally pioneered by a Japanese trainer named Tabata.  He took college students and exercised them for a total of four minutes.  The students would perform a total of 7-8 sets of 20 second workouts until four minutes had elapsed.  To improve the results, the four minute workouts can be repeated one after the other as long as you rest no more than 10 seconds between four minute intervals.  You can pick any two exercises that appeal to you and alternate them every 20 seconds.  For example, you can pick stationary biking, and jumping jacks or situps and pushups or running and swimming.  As long as you are accelerating your heart rate for those 20 seconds, the routine will work for  you.

An alternative to the four minute workout is the Peak Fitness which is a seven minute workout.  In this situation, you perform eight sets of 30 second sprints with a 90 second recovery in between.  The elliptical machine and the recumbent bicycle have been used for this exercise, but you do not need to use any exercise equipment.  You can use your own body weight and the outdoors to achieve the same results.

Other types of exercise which meet the aerobic requirements for these short bursts are wall sits, step-ups (step on and off a chair or platform), squats, planks (front or side), and lunges.

There is also a variation on the seven minute exercise where you exercise for 30 seconds, but only rest for 10-15 seconds between sets.  Of course, this routine lasts for seven minutes.

The underlying theme of these exercises is accelerating the heart rate as much as possible, and fatiguing the body as quickly as possible so that the time spent exercising is minimal.

In addition to the usual benefits of exercise such as losing weight, improving diabetes and hypertension, and improving cardiovascular health, these exercise bursts have the added benefit of increasing human growth hormone (HGH).  HGH has been referred to as the youth hormone.

Remember that an appropriate diet is an essential part of your exercise routine.  You don’t have to deprive yourself of good food.  Just eat wisely.

Prior to engaging in any form of exercise, please get clearance from your physician.  Wishing you success in fitness and weight loss and maintenance.  Pablo

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is a repetitive exercise that accelerates the heart rate, and increases the oxygen being delivered to the muscles.  This type of exercise is good for your cardiovascular system which means that the exercise strengthens the heart and lungs.  Aerobic exercise definitely helps with weight loss, but it also helps in preventing/controlling type II diabetes mellitus, decreasing cholesterol, and decreasing blood pressure.  Interestingly, aerobic exercise also helps with depression.  It is important, however, to perform the aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes in order to help with depression.  Exercising less than 30 minutes will not help with depression.  There is even the possibility that aerobic exercise helps in the prevention and/or spread of certain types of cancer.  For instance, an ongoing study at UCSF (2017) is looking to see if walking helps to slow the progression of cancer of the prostate.

Other benefits of aerobic exercise include possible prevention of Alzheimer’s, slowing the aging process, boosting the immune system, and decreasing inflammation.

Examples of aerobic exercise include running, walking, swimming, hiking, and bicycle riding to name a few.

The other form of exercise is anaerobic exercise.  This is the type of exercise where the individual gets out of breath quickly, and has fewer movements than aerobic exercise.  An example of anaerobic exercise is weight training.  Weight training is also helpful, but weight training is discussed elsewhere.

One of the attractions of aerobic exercise is you don’t need special equipment to do these exercises.  Just put on a pair of sneakers and you’re ready to go.

Sometimes, daily activities or hobbies will suffice for exercise.  Dancing, for example, will burn about 160 calories in 30 minutes in an individual weighing 130 lbs.  An individual weighing 230 lbs will burn almost 300 calories in that same 30 minutes.  Mowing the lawn or using the stairs instead of the elevator will also qualify as aerobic exercise.  Playing a sport like basketball, golf (but don’t rent a golf cart) or water polo is also aerobic exercise.  Remember that the faster the pace of the exercise, the more calories that will be burned.

Exercising three times a week for 30 minutes at a time is quite reasonable.  Be consistent with the workouts, and you will see results over time.

There are gym programs you can join if you are the type of person who does better exercising with a group in a structured environment as opposed to exercising on your own.  The gym has classes ranging from yoga to intense calisthenics.  If you are on Medicare, you may be able to get into these classes free of charge under a program known as Silver Sneakers.

One important thing to recognize is that there is no one aerobic exercise that is better than another.  My suggestion would be to rotate exercises in order to stave off boredom.  Also, by rotating exercises, you will be using different muscle groups every time you rotate.

Remember to get a clearance from your doctor before you start an exercise program.  If you have not exercised in some time, you should start your exercise program gradually and build your endurance until you are able to exercise for 30 minutes at a time.  Be mindful of aches and pains as your body may be warning you that you are overexercising or performing an exercise move that your body does not like.  Wear the right attire, and drink plenty of water especially if you are exercising in hot weather.

Choose the proper environment.  For example, running on a soft surface like dirt is easier on your joints compared to running on a hard surface like asphalt.  If you are bicycling, be aware of the traffic around you and wear protective gear.

If you are exercising, please let me know how you are doing by leaving a comment on