I don't have time to exercise you tell me! And anyway, don't you need to spend lots of money and at least an HOUR at the gym to get any benefit anyway? WRONG! You can get a whole body, intense fat-burning workout, AT HOME in only 35 minutes 3 - 6 times a week. Here's how I do it:
I made a small investment in my health and purchased a stationary exercise bike ($100 2nd hand on Trade Me) and a set of 1kg hand weights ($6 on Trade Me). Cycling is one of the top calorie-burning cardio exercises you can do, and you can do it in the privacy of your own home, while listening to your iPod or watching TV! You've got to love that!
I fit it in after dropping the kids at school and kindy, and my two year old gets to watch kids TV while I'm doing it (in the same room as me on the bike). Now, putting my two year old in front of the TV is not my IDEAL, but that's the only way I can keep her occupied and out of trouble while I exercise, when she's the only child home (and she doesn't have day-time naps anymore). You might be able to fit it in better first thing in the morning (this is my preference, but at the moment, that would mean me getting up at 5.30am, which I'm not too keen on!).
Getting the most out of your cardio
I spend about 30 minutes on the bike, the first 5 minutes are my warm-up (not too intense), then I spend about 15 minutes doing interval training. Basically interval training is what top athletes do to get really fit and increase the bodies production of growth hormones (you can read more about interval training here, in an article by Dr Mercola ), so you get the results from a shorter work-out, that you would normally only get in about an hour!
What I do is this: I use my iPod's stopwatch and do 'laps' of 30 seconds of higher resistance, fast peddling ('sprinting'), followed by 90 seconds of normal speed with less resistance. I do this 8 times.
You can also use this technique while walking or running. The speeds and intensities should be whatever you are comfortable with at your current fitness level...a 'sprint' can be just a higher resistance peddling at the same speed or a bit faster...what ever you can maintain for 30 seconds.
Weight Training & Abs
After I've finished the interval training, I keep peddling on the bike at a regular speed, but I pick up my hand weights and do about 5 minutes of upper body exercises (like bicep and tricep curls etc). Then I hop off the bike, do my stretches, then head to my bed to do my abdominal workout. I use a series of ab exercises that I know from my Pilate's DVDS, but you can just do sit-ups (start with 10 sit-ups if you're not used to doing these, and you don't need to go all the way up to your knees, just enough so you can feel your abs tensing is fine). I do this for a couple of minutes, then I'm DONE! All in less than 35 minutes!
I hope these tips inspire you to get on your bike (or out onto the pavement!) and give it a go! It might be hard at first...I really struggled to do 20 minutes on the bike when we first go it, but now I can do 60 minutes (not that I usually have time!). The more you do it, the better you will feel, and the easier it will get. I really notice a difference in the way I feel (emotionally and physically) on the days I exercise.
I would love to hear from anyone who gives it a go!