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Slim down and build muscle in 30 minutes or less

Sarah Wassner Flynn is a New York City-based writer. She's contributed to magazines such as CosmoGIRL!, National Geographic Kids, Runner's World, Women's Health, Prevention and MetroSports New York. She is also the author of The Book of ...

Quick, Effective Workouts

Between your job, your kids, and whatever else is going on in your life, there may not be enough extra hours for you to get in a workout. But good thing for you, there are many ways to pack a wallop of a workout into just 30 minutes or less. Here are three hard-hitting workouts to try the next time you are pressed for time.

Woman Jumping Rope

IF YOU HAVE 10 MINUTES…

Jump Rope. Grab a rope and hop at a slower clip for two minutes to warm up. Pick up the pace for a six-minute block of intense jumping. Then, close out the session with another two minutes of easy jumping.

After just ten minutes of moderate jump roping, you can burn about 120 calories (or that 20-ounce bottle of Coke you downed earlier in the day). As a bonus, you will be more focused and at-ease, thanks to the release of feel-good endorphins, not to mention the relaxing repetitive motion of rope jumping.

IF YOU HAVE 15 MINUTES…

Climb Stairs. Find a flight of stairs or steps in front of an office building or at a stadium. Start off slow and walk up and down the steps for three minutes. Pick up your pace and clip up and down as fast as you can. You can even take two stairs at a time on the way up (which works to increase strength and stability through the hips). Go hard for two minutes without stopping, then rest for one minute, and then repeat three times. Finish with easy climbing for the last three minutes.

After this workout, you can polish off 160 calories – and be one workout closer to having killer calf and quad muscles, too.

IF YOU HAVE 30 MINUTES…

Hit the Road. Lace up your sneakers and head outside for a walk or run. Warm up at an easy pace for the first five minutes, the crank up the speed and intensity for the next 15 minutes. While you are powerwalking (or running), focus on keeping your face relaxed and stomach tight and be sure to breathe. After 15 minutes, slow down to an easy pace again for the final five minutes.

In just 30 minutes, you can burn through 135 calories if you walked and up to 400 calories if you ran. Now that's what you call making the most of your time!

Regardless of how much time you spend exercising, always be sure to take the proper steps to reduce your risk of injuries, and to stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day.

Want to learn more about workouts that make fat-fighting fun? Check out these links:

Hula hooping for fun, full-body fitness

Get fit with ballroom dancing

Get fit fast. Train like a triathlete!

Burn 500 calories: Top 10 calorie burning activities

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