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The 20-minute fitness plan

Overview

Published: 01/20/2016

by Amanda Peja

Most of us don't exercise enough but the good news is that experts agree you only need 20 minutes each day to achieve long-term fitness success.

According to the Canadian Health Measures Survey, only 20 per cent of Canadians are getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week. Doing so provides many benefits, including better heart health, reduced risk of early mortality, improved mental health, and reduction in certain types of cancer.

“Our bodies were designed to move,” says Dr. Allana LeBlanc, Knowledge Manager at ParticipACTION. “You can split up the 150 recommended minutes pretty much however you want – you can even start with bouts of 10 minutes at a time and add onto it gradually”.

Fitting activity into your day is crucial to your overall health. Whether you go to the gym, take a walk, or do squats and push-ups during TV commercial breaks. The important thing is to do something every day.

“We can all find 20 minutes in our day to be active,” says Kelly Musovic, personal training regional manager with GoodLife Fitness. Here she shares a 20-minute plan geared toward less experienced gym-goers or those getting back into fitness.

• 5 minute warm up – run on a treadmill or go for a brisk walk. By the end, you should be short of breath but still be able to speak in short sentences.

• Air squats – Simulate sitting in a chair by pushing your hips and butt back, keeping your chest up and ensuring that your knees do not push forward passed the toes – 2 sets of 10 reps. Rest for 60 seconds between sets. All you need is your own bodyweight.

• Dumbbell chest press – while lying down on a bench, hold two dumbells at shoulder width, with your palms facing away from your head, push the weights up and slowly bring them back down until your arms are at a 90 degree angle. 2 sets of 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds between sets.

• One armed rows –2 sets of 12 reps on each arm. Rest for 60 seconds between sets.

• 5 minute cool down – you should be able to breathe easily and carry a conversation.

• Finish with stretching or foam rolling to prevent tight muscles.

If you do the math, 20 minutes is merely one per cent of your day – a small investment that reap incredible benefits for your health and overall wellbeing.

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