Can you really shape up in just minutes a day? A quick workout routine - or simple lifestyle changes -- may fit your goals.
When 8 Minutes Is Not Enough continued...
For instance, he says, if you want to improve your physical
performance - say, increase your speed in a 10K race or win a power-lifting
contest - working out for a few minutes a day probably won't do you much
If you're interested in improving a specific aspect of your
fitness, such as strength, endurance, or flexibility, quick workouts might
help. But, he says, that's only if it comes on top of any exercise
routine you're already following.
"If the eight minutes of exercise is in addition to what
you're already doing, excess calories will be burned, and - assuming your
caloric intake doesn't change - this deficit will result in better weight
management," he tells WebMD.
Hill adds that only so many calories can be burned in eight
minutes, regardless of the intensity or the type of activity. Assuming you burn
about 100 calories in each daily eight-minute session, burning a pound of fat
(3,500 calories) would take you 35 days.
Even among fitness trainers, there's considerable doubt that
eight minutes of exercise a day is really enough for anyone.
"Eight minutes a day, of course, is better than nothing,
but the surgeon general and the American College of Sports Medicine are still
recommending 20 to 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three to five times a
week, and strength training two to three times a week on alternating days,"
says fitness specialist Kelli Calabrese, MS, ACE, CSCS.
"Those guidelines are proven to reduce the risk of deadly
diseases like diabetes, atherosclerosis [hardening of the arteries], and
obesity, as well as to improve fitness," she says.
The benefits of quick workouts, says certified fitness trainer
Leigh Crews, are that they simplify a subject many people find confusing;
provide step-by-step guidelines to follow; recommend a reduced caloric intake;
and set up an easy-to-follow schedule.
"You're not really meeting the guidelines set forth by the
ACSM, but if you're a totally sedentary individual, even training each muscle
group once a week is going to show results over no training at all," says
Crews, who specializes in continuing education for fitness professionals.