Time-Saving Workout Tips for Better Health

By Martha Michael

African American Male Running

The road to health and wellness often feels long, circuitous and uphill. But is there a way to trim the trip when you’re tight on time?

Yes -- through a healthy dose of shortcuts.

If fitness is a part of your routine, Men’s Health offers suggestions for fitting your workouts into a busy schedule. A simple one is strategic timing. Being the earliest gym rat is one idea -- fewer people are there, so there’s no wait time for equipment.

Use your lunchtime for fitness, not food, the article says. (OK, you can leave enough time to eat after you work out.) Also, biking to work is another option for built-in fitness. Sure, it takes longer than driving, but you’re killing two birds with one stone: toning and transportation.

You can also change the type of workout you’re used to. If you do interval training, which involves sprinting for a half-minute alternating with walking for a half-minute, you’ll cut your cardio time down. You can raise the rigor when you reduce your routine -- kind of a quality over quantity idea. For instance, Men’s Health says that trampoline work is roughly three times the workout that running is, with the added bonus that you avoid common problems such as the impact on your bones.

Try a five-minute intensity workout followed by five minutes of rest, then repeat, says RealBuzz.com, an online healthy living site. The net effect is multiplied by intensity, as opposed to steady training. Also, ending your session with an intense time trial, such as a sprint against the clock, is one way to get more for your money. Try running hills, bike on a steeper grade, or raise the resistance on the rowing machine.

Resistance training typically involves recovery periods between repetitions. You can take advantage of that time by doing complementary exercises with other areas of your body that need work. Some of those muscles you can alternate between include:

  • Chest and upper back
  • Biceps and triceps
  • Abdominals and lower back
  • Quadriceps and hamstrings

Chiropractic Benefit

These ideas are maximized when you’re keeping your overall wellness in check. If you make your spine health a priority, for instance, it increases the chance that the corners you cut in other areas have a lower negative impact on you. Keeping regularly scheduled visits to your chiropractor is a way to gain feedback about possible deterrents to your health.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control found associations between the use of complementary approaches, such as chiropractic care, and positive health outcomes. In the study, researchers analyzed the effects of yoga, natural product supplements and chiropractic manipulation, specifically, hands-on therapy to adjust problems to body structure. Approximately 4 in 10 users of spinal manipulation perceived a reduced level of stress, better sleep, or that it was easier to cope with health problems after using the approach.

And while there are differences between the health outcomes of each of the three treatments, the CDC says, “The majority of users of all three approaches perceived that use of a particular complementary health approach improved their overall health and made them feel better.”

A shorter path to wellness doesn’t mean your standard of health has to plummet. In fact, with strategic planning and greater awareness, health hazards may actually get cut off at the pass.

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