How many 10-minute blocks of time do you waste mindlessly scrolling through social media platforms daily? And at the end of that 10 minutes, nothing productive happened except you are a little dumber now than before. In that same small amount of time, you can reduce your risk of hypertension and cognitive decline all from your living room office. Not to mention feel and look better.
I’m sure you heard of Tabata, 20 seconds of activity followed by 10 seconds of rest then repeat in four minute circuits. It fades in and out of being trendy, and always stays effective. A full Tabata workout is 16 minutes (4 circuits of 4 minutes each), you can add or subtract to that time based on your fitness level and available workout time. No special equipment is needed, just a little courage to try something new and a timer.
With connectivity up two more hours working from home than at the office, taking a few minutes for physical activity is essential for physical AND mental health. If your gyms are closed, you only have at home indoor options. The CDC says bouts of activity lasting little as five minutes have beneficial effects on the brain if they are moderate-to-vigorous. Boom! You’re winning the mental health battle already! Your heart benefits automatically when you elevate it from exercise, regardless of the type, another win.
People tend to complicate exercise by thinking it has to be elaborate moves with multiple equipment types. If you ever worked on a farm, you know how heavy the workload can be and not a barbell to be found, yet your body is put through the ringer. A Tabata workout is similarly effective. I jokingly call these types of workouts “prison style” because it’s just lifting your body weight various ways. If you were stuck in an 8×8 cell, you can do the following workout:
Circuit 1: 4 minutes, do the exercises consecutively 20 seconds of work 10 seconds rest, then repeat for 2 total circuits.
- Body weight back row pulling yourself towards the bars
- Squat jumps
- Push ups
- Bicycle crunches
Circuit 2: Same as circuit 1 flow
- Pike push ups
- 2 leg glute/hamstring bridges
- 2-foot hops
- Mountain climbers
Total time with even a brief rest between circuits, 10 minutes. No equipment provided in jail. At home you could hang underneath your dining room table and do the body weight row, everything else can all be done with a small floor space. Sure, working from home may seem prison-like now after almost a year, so I get it.
Most music apps have a Tabata playlist which includes the timing for start/stop. If you have dumbbells and/or a resistance band, now you’re really in business! There are no wrong answers for exercises, just make sure every part of your body is worked at least once. If you’re a newbie, one round may be enough at this intensity. If you’re a novice, two rounds are great. 10 minutes, three times per week can make a major positive impact on your health. Give it a try! As you gain experience, add more circuits throughout the day. Compared to wasting an hour daily on social media with no physical and mental benefits, you have now changed your outlook on life. Congratulations!
For questions about Tabata, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to my website and order my new book, The Athlete in the Game of Life, to learn how exercise impacts the brain. Plus listen to my interviews from radio stations all over the country. I promise you will learn more than you imagined!