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Exercise Time at a Premium?

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Old 07-23-2007, 08:28 AM   #1
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I bought a magazine a few days ago and keep flipping past an article about cardio for the time impaired. The author is talking about we folks who don't have time for long walks or other time consuming calorie burns.
When I first started losing weight I walked almost three miles almost everyday. Some days that was over an hour! Now, I'm working full-time and can't do that everyday.
Some of the best advice I've gotten here at 3FC is about intensity. And that's what the article was talking about too.

Do you have any ideas for increasing intensity? Can we compile a thread of advice for the exercise time impaired? Get more bang for our cardio buck?
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:45 AM   #2
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Great idea, Susan. I'll start (unless someone replied that I didn't see)

1) Intervals! For example, instead of running 40 min on a treadmill, run 20:
* 5 min warm-up
* run for 2 at a "chat" pace
* run for 1 as fast as you can
* run for 2 at a "chat" pace
* run for 1 as fast as you can
* run for 2 at a "chat" pace
* run for 1 as fast as you can
* run for 1 at a "chat" pace
* 5 min cool-down

If running isn't your thing, this can be adapted to virtually any cardio machine or activity.

2) Small steps: park further away from your office. Get off the bus a stop short on your way home. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Use the bathroom on the floor below your's.

3) Spend less time watching TV or, ahem, surfing the web. Even the most busy of us can find at least 20 minutes of down time in a day that could be used for exercise, even if it's not in one chunk.

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Old 07-23-2007, 10:45 AM   #3
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EDIT: Haha Kaw! We replied at exactly the same time....and said exactly the same thing

I keep reading time and time again that interval training can be the most effective exercise to burn the most calories in a given amount of time, and interval training can be used with ANY exercise whether you're walking, running, cycling, on the eliptical, etc. Generally the suggestion seems to be to warm up at your regular pace for about 5 minutes than start your first interval at about 90% of your effort, meaning you go ALMOST as hard as you can, for 1 minute or so, then slow down and recover for 1-3 minutes (depending on how good of shape you're in you'll recover faster or slower) then another short 90% interval and then another recovery interval and so on and so forth.

I tried this for the first time running a couple of days ago and those intervals were so hard! I definitely felt like I worked way harder than my usual run/walk and I was sweating a lot harder too so I guess it was doing it's job!
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Old 07-23-2007, 12:42 PM   #4
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Or ... if you already do some sort of activity, get a heart rate monitor and see if you can get your rate up just a little more while still doing your thing. You'll be surprised what a difference just swinging your arms can make.
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Old 07-23-2007, 01:22 PM   #5
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I like doing two "intense" workouts, one in the am 20-30 minutes - intervals on my indoor bike and another at night 20-30 minutes. They say alternating fast and slow works best if you have the least time right. For me it's boredom, I can only handle so much at a time.
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Old 07-23-2007, 03:19 PM   #6
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Ooooo speaking of boredom ... my mp3 is a huge boost. I often want to hear just one more song ...
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Old 07-23-2007, 03:34 PM   #7
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I use a podcast for Couch 2 5K Couch to 5K podcast which is set to music and also tells you when to speed up and when to go back to a more "normal" pace, but I do it on the elliptical (my knees - one currently in a brace - cannot take the impact of running, on any surface). I just up the revolutions for the running sections. Gives me a good 30 minute workout and I'm dripping by the end. When I ride my bike I try to do a number of "go as fast as you can" sessions on straight level stretches. The hills are intense, but not fast. :lol
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Old 07-23-2007, 03:47 PM   #8
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If you're walking or running, add some hills to your route. The hills really up the intensity. If you're using a treadmill, increase the incline.

Also, if you're knees can take it, add some jumps to your cardio routine. Long jumps, squat jumps, split jumps or even just jumping rope. My trainer has me do lots and lots of jumps and they ae super intense.
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Old 07-23-2007, 04:42 PM   #9
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I can't jump at all any more, but I watched my DH trying to learn to jump rope a few weeks back. I was I guess growing up male, he never learned. He's gotten better, but it'll never be as natural for him as for us that grew up female.
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