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Effective Cardio Workouts in Only 20 Minutes

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/21/2006 | Fitness
The perfect workout routine is one that combines strength training and some form of cardio. The problem is, most people hate doing cardio and will make up any excuse not to do it. A popular excuse is not having enough time. This article, however, will show you how you can spend only 20 minutes on a cardio workout and still reap the benefits.

So first of all, why is it necessary that you add cardio to your workouts? Most people understand the benefits of strength training because it adds muscle and muscle makes you healthier, more lean and stronger overall.

But what are the benefits of cardio? Here is a short list that names just a few:

- it helps reduce stress
- it burns calories which leads to weight loss
- it makes your heart and lungs stronger
- it reduces your risk of certain diseases
- it reduces depression and increases confidence
- it gives you more energy and helps you sleep better

To sum it up, adding cardio to your workout improves your health and well-being which leads to a better quality of life. Combine this with strength training and you're on your way to feeling great, fast.

So how can you reap the benefits of cardio in only 20 minutes per workout? It's called Interval Training and it can be applied to many different forms of cardio including boxing, running and biking.

The concept in a nutshell is shorter workouts, but higher intensity. This is accomplished by pushing hard for say two minutes and then slowing down for two minutes. If you repeat this cycle four more times then you have your 20 minutes. You could also do one minute hard, one minute easy and then repeat this nine more times.

Here is an example:

Interval training is perfect for running. If you're working out on a treadmill or running outdoors, it's the same routine. Start out with a warm up jog followed by two minutes of a challenging pace. This won't be your all out because you have to maintain it for two minutes, but a pace that will be very hard for you. You then follow this with two minutes of either a walk or a very slow jog. Repeat four more times and you've got yourself an effective cardio workout in only 20 minutes.

This concept can be applied to many different forms of cardio: two minutes hard, two minutes easy, repeat four more times. Or one minute hard, one minute easy, repeat nine more times.

You'll get your blood flowing, your heart pumping and reap all the benefits cardio has to offer...all in only 20 minutes. function SubmitRating(btn) { ratingchecked = false; if (btn.form.aRating0.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating1.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating2.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating3.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating4.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (ratingchecked) { btn.form.btnRating.value=btn.value; btn.form.submit(); } else { alert("Be sure a rating value has been selected to continue."); } }