For several reasons, some people prefer short, 10-to 15-minute cardio workouts over longer routines. If you choose this type of workout, you should work out at least two times per day for maximum benefits. Don't forget strength training as well to build bone strength and muscle tone.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends healthy adults perform moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week or vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, three days a week, in addition to strength training. The organization states that it can be just as effective for physical activity to be accumulated in short bursts throughout the day. Sessions should be no shorter than 10 minutes. Exercising for short sessions can be beneficial for those with busy schedules or those who are trying to gradually build up endurance.
Brief bouts of vigorous exercise can improve exercise performance, according to a 2005 study in the "Journal of Applied Physiology." In the study, 16 participants performed six sessions of sprint interval training during a two-week period. By the end of the study, participants took significantly longer to fatigue, suggesting improved endurance. Short exercise sessions also cause more calorie burn after exercising than longer, more moderate workouts. Shorter workouts can also help you beat boredom and save time.
Short, 10-to 15-minute workouts are not for everyone. If you're cutting down the time of your workout, you'll want to increase the intensity, and some people prefer a gentler pace. Exercise that is too intense also increases risk of injury. Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Short workouts may also be less likely to help you lose weight. Despite increased calorie burn after exercising, short exercise sessions tend to burn fewer calories than longer workouts.
"Fitness" magazine suggests mixing up your workout and performing 15-minute cardio routines that work a variety of muscles. To get the most calorie burn in just 15 minutes, try these high-impact activities. Perform the star squat, which works the abs, arms and legs. Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Squat low and put your palms on the floor in front of you, directly beneath your shoulders. Then, kick your feet directly behind you into push-up position. Go back to start position and repeat for 15 minutes. The lunge kick tones the abs, buttocks and legs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your side, bending your elbows. Lunge forward with right leg while swinging your left arm forward and right arm back. Alternate between sides for 15 minutes.