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Some days making time to exercise isn’t that simple. Whether you are trying to fit in your cardio workout during a short lunch break, or just want to get your heart rate up before the sun goes down, celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza has some ideas for you. Make sure to do a quick warm-up like a one or two minute power walk or jog before you get started.
If you have five minutes, hit the treadmill for some interval sprinting. Make sure to choose a machine that has side shoulders wide enough to rest your feet.
- Begin by standing on the treadmill shoulders.
- Set the treadmill speed 1.5 levels above the setting at which you normally run. So if you normally set the treadmill at 7.5 for a good run, kick it up to 9 for your sprints.
- Hop onto the treadmill and sprint for 10 seconds.
- Hop off, placing your feet on either side of the tread, for 20 seconds and completely rest.
If you have a bit more time, add a three-minute warm up (one minute walk, plus a two-minute jog) before the sprint/rest sets and finish up with a four-minute jog.
There is a big difference between running and sprinting–a difference you can feel. “The work time should be hard enough that you need the recovery,” says Braganza. If you aren’t ready to rest after each sprint, increase the speed on the treadmill.
If you want to kick your sprinting up a notch, increase the incline of the treadmill after each sprint.
If you are bored of the treadmill, then try Braganza’s four-part, 10-minute “kick-butt kickbox.”
- Jump rope or jumping jacks:
- Heavy bag, alternating between hitting the bag with jab crosses and kicks:
- Squats: 1 minute
- Crunches: 1 minute
Cycle through the moves until your time runs out.
If you want to really focus on strengthening your lower-body, this sweat-inducing combo of lunges and jump squats will do it.
- March in place: 15 seconds
- Rear lunges (step right leg back keeping weight centered, drop right knee down until left knee is parallel over the ankle, stand back up then alternate legs): 8 reps on each side
- Squat jumps (when squatting, make sure not to let your knees go in front of your toes): 10 reps
- Step side to side touching opposite foot in front of the other while you raise and lower your arms: 30 seconds
Cycle through these moves until your time runs out.
Here are more tips on making your cardio more rewarding:
- Don’t read on the treadmill. That magazine could be lulling you into a less-strenuous workout.
- If there is a choice between a sitting move and a standing move, choose the upright one; instead of a recumbent bike, choose an upright bike or, even better, the elliptical or treadmill. When weightlifting, instead of performing seated shoulder press or lateral raises, try them standing.
- Keep tabs on your heart rate. This will help you gauge if your training is too easy, too hard or just right. An easy way to determine your heart rate while doing your cardio is to get a heart rate monitor. Don’t forget: To determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. To find out what your heart rate range should be, multiply your maximum heart rate by .85 to get your high-intensity target number and .60 for your low-intensity target number.
- Swap out a gym day for a romp outside. Not only do your feet have to work harder to keep you balanced with all of the terrain changes when exercising in the natural world, but working out outside is a great cure for boredom. “You have to pay attention when you run outside,” says Braganza. Look for stairs and inclines like hills to tackle on your next hike.