Quick ways to get in shape

Laura Williams

LAST week, a study from the Lancet revealed that exercising for just 15 minutes a day can add three years to your life and cut the risk of cancer by a heartening 10 per cent. Here are my top five ways to maximise those fifteen minutes: you won’t just achieve those health benefits, either; you’ll also sculpt your limbs and rev your metabolism too.

Put some power into your walk
Yep, power walking can make for a fabulous mini-workout. Alternate three minutes of long strides, big, powering arms and as many hills as you can find, with 30 seconds of easy strolling. Recent Canadian research found that two weeks of interval training boosted females’ ability to burn fat during exercise by 36 percent.

Discover the Express Workout
They’re all the rage nowadays, especially for swamped city folk. Visit Gymbox, Virgin Active and LA Fitness to find out what they’re offering in the line of quickfix lunchtime classes.

Go military, in your living room
The very best circuit can be created in your own front room – you can be done, dusted (and broken) in fifteen minutes flat. Forget your bog standard press up and lunge circuit; think meatier moves like the bear crawl, push up with side plank, and lat-burning chair isometric rows. Ouch.

Try TV bootcamp
Do small sections of fitness DVDs on a very regular basis (i.e. every day) and you’ll still get big results. In terms of what to pick, celebrity trainerTracey Andersen’s (Gwyneth’s slightly mad trainer) workout is different if nothing else, while anything by Davina and her team is spot on. Also check out the 15 Minute Workouts for Dummies series at Amazon.

Invest in some wheels
Levels of human growth hormone – which assists in building muscle and eliminating fat – rose by a staggering 530 per cent in subjects after just 30 seconds of flat-out sprint-peddling on a stationary bike, a recent UK study found. Investing in a small, cheap exercise bike that sits unassumingly in the corner of the bedroom could make daily exercise something of a reality.

Follow Laura Williams on Twitter: @laurafitness