Cardiovascular Fitness: One Minute Workouts

Burn calories quickly by adding free customized workout plans to your cardiovascular fitness program.

You know you should exercise more. You want to exercise more. But sometimes it's tough to squeeze a full workout into your busy schedule.

The good news: A number of published studies show that you can stay in shape and burn enough calories to maintain or lose weight by doing miniworkouts throughout the day.

In fact, research has shown that short exercise moves - as few as three 10-minute sessions - are just as effective as long workout routines.

This is true, provided that the total cumulative workout time and intensity level are comparable, says exercise physiologist Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., co-author of The Spark: The Revolutionary New Plan to Get Fit and Lose Weight 10 Minutes at a Time (Fireside, 2002).

That's where our One-Minute Workouts come in. Each of the 20 cardio and strength training routines prescribed here can be done virtually any time, any place.

With these free customized workout plans, you can perform each on its own, or mix-and-match several to create a longer workout.

These workout routines can be customized for you (such as our sample 10-, 20- and 30-minute programs, which target three of your most popular fitness goals). In terms of building aerobic fitness and stamina, Gaesser notes that it's necessary to work on increasing either the duration or intensity of your workouts. But in a pinch, these one-minute exercise moves can get you strong and energized, and make you more productive -- without disrupting your day.

The One-Minute Cardiovascular Fitness Workout Plan

How it works

We've mapped out 10 strength training routines and 10 cardio blasts, each of which takes about one minute to do. Aim to perform one to five of these exercise moves every hour or two, or 10 all at once, whenever you can squeeze them in. Ultimately, you should strive to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, 5-6 days per week. See our goal-specific 10-, 20- and 30-minute workouts for ideas on how to customize longer workout routines when you have more time.


If you're doing one move only, no warm-up is necessary. If you plan to exercise for 10 minutes or longer, warm up with 1-3 minutes of light cardio activity such as marching in place.


Even if you've only done one move, end each strength and cardio workout by stretching the muscle groups just worked, holding each stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing (stretch legs and back following your cardio exercise moves).

Check out a Shape article online about fast acting strength training routines: Super Speedy Strength.

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