How to Cut Your Workout Time in Half

Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 5 times a week. Don’t have 30 minutes? Don’t worry! You can cut your exercise time in half by upping the intensity. Do it and you can get away with 20 minutes three times a week, says Mike Clark, Sharecare’s chief science officer and CEO of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

There is one caveat: You don’t want to try this straight off the couch. “The 20 minutes at a higher intensity is for more advanced exercisers,” says NASM Elite Trainer Joan Roth. So if you’re a beginner, stick with moderate intensity until you feel comfortable exercising for 30 minutes straight.

Ready to kick it up a notch? Instead of trying to go all-out on the treadmill for 20 minutes straight, try one of these high-intensity cardio routines you can do at home (or anywhere) without any equipment.

- If you’re new to high-intensity exercising, try this simple but powerful circuit from Sharecare fitness expert Kristy Lee Wilson.

- If you’re easily bored, check out Elite Trainer Joel Harper‘s fast-paced workout—that 20 minutes will fly right by.

To make your 20-minute workout count, you really have to push it. Here’s how to tell if you’re working hard enough: On a scale of 1 to 10, you should be at about an 8 or higher. So if you’re able to chat up your friend while you sweat, it’s time to step it up.

So time-strapped that you can’t fit even 20 minutes of exercise into your day? This lightening-fast routine from Sharecare fitness expert Mel Mueller takes just two-and-a-half-minutes from start to finish. Squeeze in a couple of rounds whenever you have 5 minutes of down time.

Check out our fitness center for more workout ideas.

What’s your favorite workout DVD? We’d love to know. Tell us in the comment area box.  

Join the largest health conversation in 140 characters or less! Tweet what you want to talk about to @SharecareNow and let’s start chatting!

File under: Fit Friday


Su Reid-St. John

Su Reid-St. John is Sharecare's Senior Fitness Editor. Before joining the team, she spent over a decade on Health magazine's editorial team, overseeing all things exercise-related during the majority of her time there. She lives in Birmingham, AL with her husband (Eric), daughter (Zoe), and cat (Lucy), and can be found inline skating, Nordic walking, cycling, doing yoga, and strength training (TRX is her new obsession) whenever time allows.

View my Sharecare profile