The Perfect 15-minute No-gym Workout
By Katie Riley
The perfect 15 minute no gym work out, yay! What’s the No. 1 reason for not exercising? Not enough time. Life is busy — especially if you travel frequently. But setting aside a little time to sweat can have a huge payoff: According to a 2011 study in the journal Lancet, people who fit in just 15 minutes of exercise each day were healthier and lived three more years than those who didn’t. That’s why I recommend getting a minimum of that amount of activity daily, no matter how hectic your schedule is.
When you’re on vacation or a business trip, access to a gym can be unreliable. The good news is that you don’t need equipment, much less a gym, to score a workout. Almost anywhere you go, you can squeeze in this fast and effective no-gym workout, which targets your major muscle groups using nothing but your own body weight. All you need is a watch or clock to keep time, plus a few tissues to mop up the sweat!
To warm up, march in place, lifting your knees high for 30 seconds, then jog in place for 30 seconds. Do each exercise for one minute; for a 15-minute workout, complete the circuit below twice.
Try to transition as quickly as possible from one exercise to the next to keep your heart rate up and your calorie burn high.
The No-gym Workout Circuit
1. Squats: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back as you bend your knees and squat down as if you’re sitting back into a chair.
2. Pushups: Place your hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your back flat and your core muscles tight. Bend your elbows and lower down until your chest is a few inches from the floor.
3. Jumping Jacks: Do as many as you can in one minute to get your heart rate up!
4. Lunges: Take a big step forward and lower your thigh parallel to the floor. Keep your knee over your ankle and your back straight. Push up and step back with the same leg into a reverse lunge. Repeat for 30 seconds and then switch legs.
5. Plank: Rest your forearms on the ground with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Come up on to the balls of your feet, keeping your back flat and your core muscles tight. Hold for one minute.
6. Squat Jumps: Sink down into a squat and push off into a jump. Land softly and push your hips back as you return to the squat, keeping your core muscles engaged.
7. Bicycle Crunch: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hands near your ears. Lift your shoulders and twist your right elbow to meet your left knee; straighten your right leg. Switch sides. Continue for one minute.
When you’re through, go on a short walk or step in place to cool down — and wipe away the sweat with a few tissues.
Katie Riley is certified as a personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and specializes in small group training, indoor cycling and gravity training instruction. She is also a health writer and editor and has written for Prevention, RealAge.com and the University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. She lives in San Diego and is an instructor at Evolve Health and Fitness.
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