Many women want to exercise more regularly but just can't take an hour out of their hectic schedule to work out. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention suggests as an alternative to the more conventional one-hour exercise regimen -- break up your routine into two segments for as short as 10-minutes per session. So put away your excuses, lace up your sneakers and get moving.
If you are new to an exercise program, the idea of performing an hour of exercise might be daunting. Exercising in two shorter time periods makes it more likely you'll be able to successfully complete your workout. As you complete more and more of these shorter duration workouts, you might begin to feel better about yourself and you'll start to reap the benefits of an exercise program including increased immunity to colds, healthier heart and lungs and fat loss.
Every time you exercise, your metabolism goes into overdrive for at least two hours burning more calories than before. This effect is known as exercise after-burn, or EPOC, according to researchers from the University of New Mexico. The extra calories are used to replenish oxygen stores, synthesize your body's energy reserves, remove lactate from the muscles, increase ventilation and blood circulation and restore your body's temperature. While EPOC accounts for only a modest caloric boost of between 10 to 15 calories per 100 calories burned, every calorie counts when you are trying to lose fat.
Even for those at the intermediate or advanced levels, breaking an exercise routine into two separate daily segments allows you to work out with greater intensity. It might be easier, for example, to pour all you have into an exercise lasting only 20 minutes, twice a day, versus one continuous 40-minute session. People exercising at a VO2 max of 75 percent, an intense level of exercise, maintained EPOC effect for 10.5 hours, compared to only 3.3 hours for the group exercising at 50 percent VO2 max, a moderate level of intensity.
Women older than age 55 and people with chronic medical problems such as Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure need to get medical clearance before beginning an exercise program. While you should continue to exercise even though you feel discomfort, always stop exercising if you experience any sharp pain. Add to your exercise intensity slowly. If you are a runner, for example, start off by running for a short time, followed by walking and build up to running for your entire workout.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need?
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Is it OK To Break Up Your Fitness Routine?
- The Washington Post: Feel the After-Burn!
- The University of New Mexico: Exercise After-Burn: Research Update
- Los Angeles Times: Exercising Twice in One day Isn't Just for Fanatics Anymore
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise: When to Check with Your Doctor First
Brenda Scottsdale is a licensed psychologist, a six sigma master black belt and a certified aerobics instructor. She has been writing professionally for more than 15 years in scientific journals, including the "Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior" and various websites.