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Why Short Workouts Can Work for You

Here's how you should have replied:

Belief Number 1. False.
Yes, it's wonderful that we live in a culture where health clubs are nearly everywhere, but there are roughly 874 options to get and stay fit that don't involve the gym. (In fact, in prehistoric days there were very few indoor gyms and most of those old-timers were able to chase a woolly mammoth for miles.)

Belief Number 2. False, Falser, and Most False.
Often there's an inverse relationship between how long you stay and how fit you are – as in, the longer you stay the less fit you are. Check it out, next time some lean-and-mean lifting type walks into the gym, glance at the clock and see how long he stays in the gym. More often than not, he's a model of efficiency – in and out in less than an hour. More often than not, many "gym rats" work out wagging their tongues more than they do working their muscles.

Belief Number 3. False, Unless You Know What You're Doing.
Significant cardiovascular or strength benefits can be gained in 15 or 30 minutes if you know what you are doing. In fact, if you spend much more than 45 minutes lifting weights during one session you're probably wasting time.

Belief Number 4. False.
The irony here is that the busier you are, the more you need to exercise. That's because exercise reduces stress, boosts your energy, and improves your health. When you're busy you can't afford to get sick. The fact is that working out is excellent preventive medicine. Again, you're not training to climb Everest, just to get or stay in shape, which in our culture has become a rather "lofty" goal.

Top Ten Reasons to Work Out
Let's get a bit more specific about why you can't afford not to work out. Exercise ...

  1. Improves your appearance as well as your self-esteem.
  2. Lowers your blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.
  3. Makes your muscles, joints, and bones stronger. This is particularly important for women over 40 who lose bone density as they age.
  4. Is practical: Carrying groceries or your kids, or changing a tire are far easier when you've got some oomph.
  5. Reduces stress and helps people counteract depression. For a society that pops Prozac and other psychotropic drugs like candy, that's significant.
  6. Improves your ability to concentrate.
  7. Increases your levels of HDL, the good cholesterol.
  8. Improves your sleep.
  9. Speeds up your metabolism – a huge factor in a country with more obese people than any other in the Western world.
  10. Keeps the stock market on an even keel. Well, maybe not, but the preceding nine reasons are legit.


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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Workouts © 2001 by Deidre Johnson-Cane, Jonathan Cane, and Joe Glickman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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