For lots of my clients the biggest barrier to exercise is time and the second being the motivation to go and ‘workout’ for an hour.
The fact that we call it a ‘workout’ is enough to put anyone off. Which is why I work with my clients to help them develop a plan to move more. If you’re now working from home I bet you are spending even more time sitting. It’s estimated that modern workers spend as much as 15 hours a day in a chair. Therefore, that one hour of intensive exercise you did when you got up might not be enough to counteract the adverse effects.
Welcome to intermittent exercise
You’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting, well this is intermittent exercising. Research has shown there are many benefits to breaking up that hour into short 5-10min sets throughout the day. These short burst of activity get the blood pumping, fat gets released from our cells and sent to the muscles for energy, boosting our metabolism. That movement also fuels the spine with nutrients. Our brains change in response to movement. Oxygen and nutrients get pumped to the brain which improves focus and clarity. Dopamine and endorphins are released which boosts mood and reduces stress.
How to build your own intermittent exercise plan
The beauty of this is it is so flexible anyone can make it fit around a busy day. You can diarise and set alarms for your 10 minutes of exercise around meetings, calls and other jobs. And when things are feeling a little stressful and you need to take a break to clear your head there is nothing better than 10 minutes of movement to help. Try walking and talking when you can, your body will thank you and you may find you can concentrate on the call better while moving!
I like to start and end my day with 5-10 minutes of stretching. Each day I rotate each set with cardio, legs, arms and core so that I get my full body involved. I will then pick a number of exercises based on what equipment I have available and how many rounds I think I can fit in. I will then set up my Tabata stop clock to fit in as many rounds as I can in that time.
20 seconds of movement followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times = 4 minutes. I then take a minutes rest and go again.
8:00 – 10 min of stretching
10:00 – 4 minutes of star jumps followed by 4 minutes of squat jumps
12:00 – 4 minutes of alternate lunges followed by 4 minutes of sumo squats
14:00 – 4 mins of pushups followed by 4 min of tricep dips on a chair
16:00 – 4 minutes of dead bugs followed by 4 minutes of planks
21:00 – 10 minutes of stretching
You don’t have to do this instead of your run, gym session or any other exercise plans you might have. Try giving it a go on those days when it’s impossible to get to the gym and see what you could achieve!