By Kristin McGee
As a new mom to a 5-month-old, I've discovered it's definitely hard to find time to work out. New moms like myself, busy office workers, you name it... just can’t spend hours at the gym. Well, good news: It’s not necessary to log tons of hours working out. Studies have shown that exercise intensity is more important than the duration, which means the when you have a moment to move, make it count.
To get started, try these five different ways to tune up your body that only take five minutes.
1. Tabata Drills
Tabata drills are a great way to burn maximum calories in minimal time. This high-intensity interval-style of training is all the rage since it only takes four minutes to perform. For 20 seconds you go all out then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this eight times for a total of four minutes. I like to add a 30-second warm up and a 30-second cool down on either end.
Start with some marching in place. After 30 seconds, start a 20-second round of high knees (alternate lifting your knees as high as possible) going as fast as you can. Stop and rest for 10 seconds then start a round of skaters (jumping side to side as you stay low and tap the opposite foot behind the front leg and opposite hand towards the front foot). Rest again for 10 seconds then repeat three more times. Finish with a cooldown, marching in place again for 30 seconds.
2. Theraband Workout
Theraband’s are an excellent way to tone up your body because there's constant tension on the band throughout the exercises. Therabands are also easy to store and tote. There’s no excuse not to grab a band and do five minutes of quick toning. You can even store one under your couch to perform a five-minute tune up as you watch your favorite TV show.
For a quick, effective toning workout, sit upright with your legs out in front of you. Wrap the band around your feet and hold an end in each hand. Pull your arms straight back by your sides then release, repeat 15 times. Turn your palms down then pull your elbows up and back for 15 repetitions. Next, flip your palms upright and perform 15 biceps curls. Then turn your palms back and pulse the band behind you with your arms straight and by your sides. Repeat this circuit two more times.
Yoga is one of my personal favorites. In yoga, you're holding yourself in positions and engaging your muscles and core throughout the entire practice. Yoga is portable and easy to do anywhere and anytime.
Start standing at the front of a yoga mat or towel. Inhale and lift your arms up overhead and press your palms together. Exhale, then dive forward over your feet into a forward bend and touch the ground. Inhale and extend your legs back into a plank position. Exhale and lower into a narrow arm triceps push-up. On your next inhalation, lift your chest and straighten your arms coming into an upward facing dog before exhaling back into a downward facing dog. After five breaths in downward facing dog, step or hop forward to the front of the mat and reverse the swan dive to stand up. Repeat this sun salutation five times.
4. Cardio Intervals
Studies show that adding high-intensity intervals to your cardio routine enable you to keep your heart rate up longer after your workout, so you can log less hours while still getting fit. Plus, cardio intervals are great for boosting your metabolism and building endurance.
On a treadmill or outdoors, walk or jog at a moderate pace for 30 seconds then break in to a fast walk or run for 30 seconds. Repeat four more times. When you go fast, try and push yourself as much as you can then use your 30 seconds for recovery.
5. Core Strength
Core strength is important for everything you do in life and having a strong center helps you workout better. Pilates is an excellent way to strengthen your core and burn major calories in little time.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and legs in the air, parallel to the floor. Lift your head and neck up and lengthen your arms forward. Start pumping your arms vigorously up and down five times on an inhalation and five times on an exhalation for 100 pumps.
Next, extend your arms and legs long on the floor and roll up slowly to sit, extending your body forward over your legs. Roll back down using your abs to control the descent. Repeat five more times.
Lastly, hug your knees to your chest and rock forward and back on your spine in a ball-shaped position. When you roll like a ball make sure your head and feet don’t touch the floor. Get on your hands and knees then extend your legs straight back behind you to move into plank pose. Work up to holding the plank for one-minute. You'll love this five-minute core-building workout!