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  • Rita Date

4 Minute Exercise!

When people who say their schedule is too tight to exercise I tell them about 4 minute exercises known as Tabata training.

This is an interval program that calls for 20 seconds of all-out intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times. The technique was developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata in the mid-1990s, when he first tested his the protocol on elite Japanese speed skaters. He took the protocol to non-athletes and found that the protocol beat out more time-intensive, steady state training because it boosted the body’s aerobic and anaerobic pathways (meaning it made exercisers more efficient at both short, intense exercise and longer, slower sessions). Several other researchers have studied the Tabata method and found similar results.

Don’t get intimidated by the science — just know that it is short, gets your heart pumping and you working. You do need to be exercise savvy to try the program, a knowledge of squats, lunges, burpees and other basic gym work outs is helpful. If you are overweight, have any injuries or are over 40 years of age I recommend going very slow. Do  the program on low intensity(without jumping) to avoid knee injury — it is still very effective. The training is also a good way to mix up your exercise routine. If you have been doing the same type of exercises for many years, this is great change. The best thing is that these exercises can be done anywhere, even when you are traveling, you don’t need to leave the house. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. There are dumbbells used on some exercises but they are optional, and you can do the repetitions without them.

There are several Youtube videos where you can try tabata but the best one I have found is “You’ve Got 4 Minutes.”  Fitness trainer Rebekah Borucki takes you through a four minute routine and when you are done you can move onto the next one. Depending on how much time you have and what shape you are in you can do as many in the series as you like. Doing 4-5 of these sets is a great workout.

If you are pressed for time, dislike going to the gym or looking for a change in your exercise routine then give the videos a try. There is no more excuse for not having time — everyone has 4 minutes.

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