Realistically speaking, your goals this time of year should be to fend off the dreaded holiday bulge (the average weight gain is about a pound), hold on to your hard-won endurance (we can lose up to 20 percent of our cardiovascular fitness if we quit exercising cold-turkey between Thanksgiving and New Year’s), and put a dent in the inevitable stress of the season (so the stuff that’s supposed to be fun actually will be).
Fortunately, you can accomplish all those things—and you don’t need to carve out a huge amount of time to do it. Adding short bursts of intense effort can fire up your metabolism and fast-track results. In an Australian study, women who cranked out high-intensity interval training three days a week for 20 minutes (for 15 weeks) shed more fat than those who exercised for 40 minutes at a lower intensity over the same period.
These quick sessions aren’t just good for weight control; studies have suggested that small doses of regular exercise—we’re talking 10 to 20 minutes at a time—can result in temporary mood improvement or anxiety reduction. Exercise raises levels of serotonin, a feel-good hormone, while reducing your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels.
Whether you are on the road or at home, doing things like the following moves require no equipment or gym. Do as many reps of each exercise as you can in one minute, moving from one to the next without stopping. Rest 90 seconds, then repeat the circuit a total of three or four times.
- Jumping Jacks
- Squat Jumps
- Side-to-Side Hops: Keeping your knees slightly bent and feet together, imagine you’re jumping back and forth over a line on the floor.
- Burpees: Squat to place your hands on the ground, jump back into a plank position, and do a pushup. Reverse the move to return to standing, jumping off the ground to finish each rep.
Dr. Shawn Tsuda and his team wish you all happy holidays! If you’re considering bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area, schedule an appointment for a consultation.