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A 4-Minute Workout that Actually Works!

Lifestyle & Opinion

By Natalia Varela Aranda

Are you a full-time college student with a job? You probably think you have no time to get exercise. Most college students don’t have the time or energy to go to the gym. What if there is a full cardio workout that anyone can do in just under 4 minutes? Well there is such thing; it is called Tabata Training.

This is how it works; you do any kind of exercise (push ups, sprint, barbells, etc) as hard as you can for 20 seconds. Then you rest for 10 seconds, pick a different workout and do it as hard as you can for another 20 seconds. Repeat about 4 to 8 times. It does not matter if you repeat the same exercise, but for beginners who don’t exercise as often the best thing to do is to start with low intensity. That’s pretty much it.

“If you repeat this routine five days a week for six weeks it will boost your aerobic fitness by 14%” states Men’s Health magazine. However, you are welcome to try this 2-4 times a week. This workout originated from the work of Japanese scientist  Dr. Izumi Tabata, professor of sports and health science at Ritsumeikan University, which proved that this high-intensity workout helps maximize oxygen consumption. He made a study between two college groups, one using the tabata method while the other group used a gym routine, such as running on the treadmill for an hour, lifting weights, and cycling. His study showed that the group that used the tabata training method increased their anaerobic system (muscle) by 28% while the other group gave out very little results. Also keep in mind that these two groups were P.E majors before they participated in the study.

Justin Anthony Bowen, personal fitness instructor from Remington College explained, “This type of workout will cause the body go into Epoc steady state, which is the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. In simpler words, that mean your body will continue to burn calories and consume oxygen after your 4-minute workout. So your body will adapt to exercise. You are still burning calories and fat while your body returns to resting,” says Bowen.

Anyone can pretty much do this workout. As a college student you deal with work,  staying up late doing homework, trying to keep up with your own social life, and at the same time you still want to look good and feel good about yourself, right? When we exercise, our bodies releas a pleasure chemical called dopamine, which makes us feel happy, calm, and focused. Also, there are plenty of studies showing that people who do exercise don’t get sick as often. So naturally it boosts you immune system. A healthy college student means better grades, much better focus in class, and a bright future. Who wants to have the flu during midterms or finals?

According to Dr. Izumi, his-4 minute work out is equal to an hour of jogging, about two hours of walking, and two hour yoga session. “After a minute of this workout I wish I was never born, but afterwards I felt weirdly energized,” says Jake Wallis Simos, a reporter from The Telegraph.

“This kind of training also improves mental toughness because of how high intense it is. Of course you’ll have thoughts of quitting, that is totally normal, you just need to push yourself and have patience, and you will see that in no time you will notice the difference not only with your body, but also mentally,” says Bowen.

St. Petersburg College student Ashley B Plumstead says that she is trying to loose weight and trying to be as healthy as she can. “I think most of us don’t work out because we barely have time to get a full eight-hour sleep, but I do strongly believe that if we take at least five minutes of our day to squeeze a workout routine it will make a difference”.

Originally published Mar. 12, 2014.

Header photo by CherryPoint (flickr creative commons license).

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