Intermittent Exercise: Lose Body Fat Without The Time Commitment

Woman skipping for intermittent exercise

Getting the recommended amount of physical activity throughout the day can be pretty difficult. Between going to work, family, and school, and juggling other social obligations and/or responsibilities, how can anyone possibly squeeze in an hour at the gym?

Well, luckily we can still reap the health benefits of exercise without the time commitment by doing intermittent exercise.

Intermittent exercise is a type of interval training where you complete shorter bouts of exercise throughout your day, as opposed to longer bouts of continuous exercise at one time.

In this blog post, we will discuss what is intermittent exercise, the benefits of doing it and why you should consider adding it to your workout routine if you’re always short on time.

What is Intermittent Exercise?

people at the gym on the treadmill doing intermittent exercise

Intermittent exercise is a type of physical activity that alternates between short periods of high intensity exercise and short periods of lower intensity exercise. This type of exercise training is typically completed in bouts of 10-15 minutes throughout your day.

Unlike traditional exercise routines, which tend to be continuous training and of moderate exercise intensity, intermittent exercise requires you to give maximal effort during the higher intensities. In addition, this form of training is time efficient, and can still give you all the same great benefits as continuous exercise.

Intermittent exercise can include activities such as going for a brisk walk or light jog in the morning, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or doing 10-15 minutes of skipping in your living room.

No matter what the activity is, intermittent exercise simply requires you to complete vigorous short bout activities throughout your day.

What Are The Benefits of Intermittent Exercise?

The benefits of intermittent exercise are that it can help you lose body fat without the time commitment of an hour-long workout at the gym.

One study demonstrated that women who completed high-interval intermittent exercise 3 times a week for 15 weeks compared to the same frequency of steady continuous exercise, showed significant reductions in total body fat, and subcutaneous leg and trunk (torso) fat.

Furthermore, a literature review done by Boutcher (2010), identified that individuals who engaged in regular high intensity intermittent exercise, following the Wingate protocol, over a period of 12 weeks or more demonstrated a significant improvement in cardiovascular health, along with a significant reduction in insulin resistance, appetite post-exercise and total body mass, more specifically, subcutaneous fat and trunk fat.

Lastly, another study has shown that brisk walking for 10 minutes three times a day can offer the same benefits as continuous exercise such as improving cardiovascular health, aerobic capacity, increasing your good cholesterol, reducing your bad cholesterol and improving your mood.

With so many great benefits, why not start to include intermittent exercise into your routine to help improve your cardiovascular fitness.

How Much Physical Activity and Intermittent Exercise Do I Need?

woman looking at her watch to determine the time

The daily recommended amount of physical activity for an adult between the ages of 18-64 years is an accumulation of 150 minutes per week.

Now 150 minutes can sound pretty daunting, but when you break it up that’s only 30 minutes, 5 days a week.

However, with intermittent exercising, you can turn 30 minutes into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions a day! The number of sessions you decide to complete throughout the day does not matter, as long as you break them into small intervals, keep your heart rate up and maintain high to low intensity intervals.

How To Start Incorporating Intermittent Exercise Into My Routine?

Woman sitting on the floor with her laptop eating an apple, planning ahead

Increasing your activity levels is always great and incorporating intermittent exercise into your routine is a great start!

To get yourself started, start by picking an activity you enjoy or select 3-5 compound exercises. For example, if you enjoy dancing, walking or bike riding, start with that! If you’re not too sure what activity to choose, then go for the compound exercises. Compound exercises are exercises that involve more than one muscle group such as squats, jumping jacks, burpees, push ups, plank etc. If you’re still not sure what to choose, check out my article on the best workouts for beginners to get some ideas and inspiration.

Once you’ve selected your activity or exercises, block out 30 minutes of your day, whether it be three 10 minute sessions, or two 15 minute sessions.

If you decide to opt for three 10 minute sessions, complete one session in the morning, one session in the afternoon and one session at night. If you decide to complete two 15 minute sessions, complete one session in the morning and one session at night.

Intermittent Workouts

Now that you have selected your method of exercise, you can now get started.

Complete each session at a moderate to vigorous exercise intensity, with active rest. The intention of the intermittent workout is to keep your heart rate elevated. However, it’s important to listen to your body and rest where needed.

15 minute intermittent workout (dancing ,walking or biking):

  • Dance or bike for 10 seconds at a vigorous intensity
  • Dance or bike for 50 seconds at a light intensity
  • Repeat intervals for a total of 15 minutes

10 minute intermittent workout (compound exercises):

  • Jumping Jacks for 40 seconds at a vigorous intensity
  • Jogging on the spot for 30 seconds at a light intensity
  • Jump squats for 40 seconds at a vigorous intensity
  • Jogging on the spot for 30 seconds at a light intensity
  • Burpees for 40 seconds at a vigorous intensity
  • Jogging on the spot for 30 seconds at a light intensity
  • Repeat 2 more rounds

Tips for Staying Motivated and Seeing Results

Woman running outside with headphones and music for intermittent exercise

Now that you have a new tool in your exercise regimen, it’s important to remain consistent to see results. As such, here are a few tips to stay motivated:

Set realistic goals: It’s important to set a goal that you will stick with and that is achievable. Setting realistic goals will keep you motivated to stay consistent and see results.

Keep a fitness or weight loss journal: Keeping a record of your workouts and daily progress will help to keep you motivated and see your progress over time.

Find a workout partner: Having a workout partner can help to keep you motivated and accountable. It’s also a great way to stay social while you get fit!

What is Continuous Exercise?

Continuous exercise is a type of physical activity that is done for an extended period of time. For example, a long distance jog or your typical resistance training session is considered to be continuous exercise. Essential this form of training requires more time than intermittent exercise, which requires less time.

Continuous exercise is often recommended if you have a more specific goal in mind, such as improving your overall strength and/or endurance, weight loss, and better overall physical fitness.

Final Thoughts

By following these tips, you can begin incorporating intermittent exercise training into your daily routine and see results. However, it is also important to understand that in order to maximize your results, it’s important to incorporate a regular healthy diet. If you’re having a hard time with your diet, seek help from a nutritionist or a personal trainer to guide you in the right direction.

Nonetheless, this form of exercise is a great way to get fit, without spending hours at the gym, improve your aerobic capacity, reduce any potential health risks and a great way to start with a healthy lifestyle.

So make sure to give it a try!

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