If you’re like most American adults, you’ve probably said to yourself, “I need to get more exercise.” And you’re most likely right.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, plus two bouts of strength training. That’s at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five times every week.
Don’t have that kind of time? The next best thing is to increase the intensity of your exercise. Research suggests several brief rounds of daily heart-rate-raising exercise are beneficial. And your heart will reap the greatest health benefits by doing vigorous exercise at least 75 minutes a week. You can spare 15 minutes, right?
Do a 15-minute vigorous aerobic workout with built-in strength training moves five days a week. It’s easy to fit in to a busy day and will help you work up a healthy sweat.
Below is what’s known as a superset circuit, because it pairs two exercises without rest in between. It’s efficient and effective. Give it a try, but first visit your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for vigorous exercise. This workout is pretty tough.
You’ll need a pair of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells (or greater, depending on your fitness level). Do each superset of A and B exercises without resting in between. Rest enough to catch your breath before moving on to the next set. After completing the circuit, rest for 90 seconds and then do a second round.
(A) Clock Walk
Get in a pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Without bending your arms, move your right hand out to the side and then follow it with your left so you are now in a wide pushup stance. Move your right hand out again, followed by the left — pivoting on your toes as you move — and continue this pattern until you’ve completed a full rotation. Without resting, do a full clockwise rotation.
(B) Alternating Dumbbell Row
Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees slightly and bend forward at the hips, keeping your lower back naturally arched. Do not round your back. Allow the dumbbells to hang from your shoulders at arm’s length. Now, in a piston-like movement, bend your elbow to pull the right dumbbell to your chest. As you begin to lower it, pull your left-hand dumbbell to your chest. That’s one rep. Continue alternating the row for 10 full reps.
(A) Skater Hops
From a standing position, leap about three feet to your right, land on your right foot and cross your left leg behind you as you bend your right knee. Your arms will naturally swing to the right. Immediately swing your arms to the left, like a speed skater, as you press off your right foot and jump a few feet to the left. Land on your left foot and allow your right leg to trail behind it. Do this slowly with control. Continue hopping back and forth in a speed-skating motion. Right and left is one repetition. Do 10, gradually increasing speed.
(B) Hulk Jump
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the hips and knees to lower into a squat. Now swing your arms overhead as you explosively jump as high as you can. Land softly and then immediately lower into a squat again to repeat. Do 10 repetitions.
(A) Dumbbell Push Press
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders with your arms bent and elbows facing the side of your body. Bend your knees and then straighten them explosively to help you press the weights straight over your shoulders. Lower the dumbbells to your shoulders and repeat.
(B) Goblet Squat With Pulse
Grab one end of a dumbbell with both hands and hold it vertically at your chest. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointed outward slightly. Push your hips back and bend your knees, as if sitting in a chair, until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pause and push the weight in front of you so your arms are parallel with the floor when fully extended. Bring the weight back to your chest and stand up. That’s one rep. Do six to eight.