Fitness: Put down the remote control and get going with 20-minute workouts

The peaks and valleys of intensity will put a spring back into your step and prepare you for the active summer months ahead.

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It’s time to shake off the winter doldrums and embrace the energy boost that every Canadian feels as winter gives way to spring. It’s been a long few months, but it’s time to say goodbye to the Netflix vibe and say hello to spring training. Put down the remote and get going.

To help you embrace this newfound energy, here’s a series of 20(ish) minute workouts designed to suit everyone from trainer potatoes to avid athletes. The workouts include a series of intervals ranging from easy (recovery mode) to high intensity. The idea is to cycle between intensities, so you get the maximum benefit.

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Walk, run, bike or swim your workouts, just make sure you breathe hard during the high-intensity intervals (you should feel the effort) and take it easy during the recovery phase of your workout . The idea is to increase speed, knowing that you have a generous recovery period to catch your breath. The peaks and valleys of intensity will put a spring back into your step and prepare you for the active summer months ahead.

If you’re worried that 20 minutes isn’t enough time to get in better shape, think again. Small bites of exercise are all the rage, with many studies highlighting the benefits of short, brisk workouts. Work up a sweat at lunchtime, before the kids get up in the morning, or de-stress from a long day with an after-dinner workout. And since the days are getting longer, there’s more time at both ends of the day to squeeze in a quick 20-minute bite of exercise.

The four featured workouts are slightly different; mix them up throughout the week. If you haven’t sweated in a while, take a day off between workouts. If you’re active but need a spring tune-up, work them into your schedule as you see fit. They are perfect for days when time is tight or motivation is low. You can add a five-minute warm-up and a five-minute cool-down and increase the workout to 30 minutes. The bottom line is: you do.

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Now for the cleaning. The intervals are timed, so it’s helpful to use an app (see suggestions below) or smartwatch that tracks your speed, distance, and time. Another benefit of a good app is reviewing your stats after your workout to track your progress.

You need to dress ready to sweat. Have a water bottle handy and your phone or watch so you can track the time.

You should feel a distinct difference between easy, moderate and fast intervals. These are not steady state workouts. Your hard efforts should push you out of your comfort zone, and your recovery should lower your heart rate and slow your breathing. The idea is to recover enough so that you can maintain your intensity throughout the fast-paced intervals.

Intensity is a relative thing, meaning one person’s quick effort is another person’s recovery. That’s why these workouts can be enjoyed by both novice and experienced exercisers and are adaptable to the pool, bike, treadmill, rowing machine and elliptical trainer.

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Commit your workout to memory before you leave the house, send a workout text to your phone so you can easily access it, or go old school and write the intervals by hand or on a note that you can put on your waist of your workout gear. And don’t play favorites. Each workout challenges your body in slightly different ways, so rotate through the full set each week.

Finally, don’t forget to have fun. Challenge a friend to do the workouts with you and commit to at least four weeks. If you’re having a good time, make these 20-minute exercise bites a staple in your schedule. Workouts don’t have to be long, boring or repetitive to be effective. They just need to be finished.

the scale

5 minutes easy pace

3 minutes moderate pace

30 second fast pace

1 minute recovery rate

3 minutes moderate pace

30 second fast pace

1 minute recovery rate

3 minutes moderate pace

30 second fast pace

recovery rate of 2.5 minutes

Stand firm

5 minutes easy pace

5 minutes moderate pace

30 second fast pace

4 minutes moderate pace

30 second fast pace

3 minutes moderate pace

30 second fast pace

2 minutes moderate pace

Pure intervals

5 minutes easy pace

1 minute moderate pace

1 minute fast pace

1 minute easy pace

Repeat 1 minute moderate/fast/easy intervals five times.

the challenge

4 minutes easy pace

5 minutes moderate pace

2 minutes fast pace

1 minute recovery

Repeat the moderate/fast/pace intervals twice.

Recommended applications

Interval timer

Strava

Nike Running

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Image Source : montrealgazette.com

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