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15 minutes to a healthier you

Medicine Ball Workout
Tim Kruskamp/SilentShudder Photography

If you think you don't have the time for an effective and fast workout every day, think again. Whether you work all day or are busy student, you have at least 15 minutes a day for a workout.

The Science Behind a Vigorous, Short Workout

According to researchers of Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, 12 to 15 minutes of high intensity interval workouts, such as running, jumping and swimming, spread over three sessions will have the same effect as moderate exercise that lasts from 45 minutes to an hour.

Lead author of the study who published in Public Library of Science ONE, Dr. Arnt Erik Tjønna, states that, "Since we know that more and more people are inactive and overweight, the kind of improvement in physical fitness that we saw in this study may provide a real boost for inactive people who are struggling to find the motivation to exercise.'' He also says that regular exercise at high intensity increases maximum oxygen intake.

Warm Up To Cool Down

Whether you are exercising for an hour or fifteen minutes, you should always start with a warm up and end with a cool down. Mary D. Nadelen, an Athletic Training Clinical Education Coordinator (ATC) and has an M.S. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said, "Every workout must begin with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. A warm-up is necessary to prepare the body for exercise by increasing heart rate and blood flow to working muscles." She also states that both activities help prevent injury.

"Creating a smooth transition from the warm-up to a specific activity is a great way to prevent injuries. For example, a soccer player could pass, dribble and shoot a ball; a weightlifter could lift light weights before moving onto greater resistance." Start out with a three to five minute warm-up by running in place or doing jumping jacks. Do the same for a cool down at the end of your fifteen minute workout.

Lunge With Shoulder Press

A great example of an all inclusive workout routine would be including all major muscles such hamstrings, quadriceps, abs and obliques and back. Lunges that include an upper body exercise strengthen these muscle groups at the same.

Simply grab a pair of 5- to 10-pound dumbbells in each hand, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend you elbows to make the dumbbells almost touch your shoulders, palms facing forward. Lunge forward with either leg and bend your knees at 90 degrees. Repeat this exercise by alternating legs in one-minute intervals for five minutes at a moderate or heavy pace.


Your lower back and abs and obliques make up your core. It is important that you focus on including strengthening exercises because these are areas that help you function during everyday activities such as lifting and walking. For example, medicine ball “V” sit ups strengthen your arms and abs while back extensions help strengthen the muscles in your mid and lower back in one clean motion.

Lie on your back, legs straight and hands clasping the medicine resting on your lap. While holding the ball, simultaneously lift your arms and legs straight up, touching the medicine to your toes. With slow and concentrated breaths, lift your shoulder blades off the floor in quick pulses.

Repeat this motion in 20 repetitions for three sets. Back extensions can be performed in the comfort of your home, right on the floor! Lie flat on your stomach with your arms and legs straight. At the same time, arch your back and lift both legs together. Arms are raised but to your side. Crunch your shoulder blades together and hold the arch for a count of two. Release back to starting position and repeat.

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