Think you don’t have time to work out? Even a super fast, quick workout can improve your health. You don’t need an hour a day to lose weight or get into great shape. A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that 15 minutes of resistance training was just as effective at boosting participants’ metabolism as 35 minutes.
It can be as simple as committing a quick 15 minutes four to six times a week. You’ll want to focus on strength training since it builds muscles, and muscle burns calories. Don’t neglect cardio, though, since it strengthens the heart and lungs, increases endurance and burns calories, which helps you lose weight.
Burn More Calories
You’ll burn calories with each lift, but the calorie-burning benefits of even a short strength training session keep coming long after you’ve left the gym. A director of fitness research in Quincy, Massachusetts says the calories burned in rest can be up to 25% of those shed in your workout. He adds that for every three pounds of muscle you build you’ll burn an extra 120 calories a day on average because muscle takes more energy to sustain.
A study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine found that eight weeks of consistent weightlifting saw up to a 30% improvement in sleeping habits. Participants in the study were able to fall asleep faster and remain asleep longer than before they became physically active. Give yourself time to cool off before bed since weightlifting raises your metabolism and temperature. Three to six hours is recommended by the National Sleep Foundation between a workout and bedtime.
Prevent Heart Attacks
Regular strength training builds your most important muscle, the heart, and improves your cardiovascular system. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, scientists reported that participants who strength trained just three days a week for eight weeks lowered their systolic blood pressure by an average of nine points and their diastolic blood pressure by an average of eight points. That’s enough to slash your risk of stroke by 40% and bring down your risk of heart attack by 15%.
Harvard School of Public Health found that men who strength train regularly may be able to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 34%. Researches believe it is due to increased muscle mass that improves insulin sensitivity. When combined with aerobic exercise the benefit jumps to 59% reduced risk.
Even if you have diabetes, it’s not too late to benefit. Austrian scientists found that men and women with type 2 diabetes who started strength training were able to significantly lower their blood sugar levels and improve their conditions.
According to a study from the University of Florida, strength training fends off cancer-causing free radicals. Researchers there found that people who lifted weights had significantly less oxidative cell damage than their non-lifting peers. High-intensity exercise has also been shown to protect against breast cancer.
Your workout releases a lot of endorphins, also known as the “feel good” hormones. Using resistance forces your body to exert energy you would otherwise store as stress. In one study, Texas A&M University scientists found that the fittest people exhibited lower levels of stress hormones in their bloodstreams than subjects who were least fit.
Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia have also found that blood pressure levels return to normal faster after a stressful situation in people with more lean muscle tissue compared to those with less.