The Ultimate 15-Minute Workout: Fit Check

Just 15 minutes of exercise a day may add years to your life. We’ve got the workout to help you live a longer life.

We know, you’re busy. Whether you’re a staffer running around the Hill all day or an exhausted parent, it’s tough squeezing in the standard 30 minutes of daily exercise.

But a recent study found that just 15 minutes of physical activity a day may add three years to your life. And it doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous—Chi Pang Wen, the lead researcher of Taiwan’s National Health Research Institutes says just 15 minutes of daily moderate exercise can provide benefits.

If you still want to feel challenged during this short span, try this 15-minute workout by Heather Cohen, founder of Haute Fitness and group exercise instructor at Vida Fitness at the Verizon Center. Don’t worry about lack of gym equipment—with this workout your body is your only tool.

For starters, go through this nine-step workout only once. Then, “as your fitness level improves,” says Cohen, “you can challenge yourself by using the progressions or by going through this routine as many times as you can within a 15-minute period.”

Exercise 1: Push Ups
Muscles Worked: Chest, shoulders, and core
Reps: 15
Modification: Perform on your knees
Progression: Use a staggered stance so that one hand is under your shoulder and one is parallel to your chest.

Exercise 2: Sit Ups
Muscle Worked: Abdominals
Reps: 25
Modification: Crunches
Progression: Keep your hands over-head

Exercise 3: Jump Squats
Muscles Worked: Quads and hamstrings
Reps: 20
Modification: Don’t come down as low during the squat portion and rather than jumping, simply reach up.
Progression: Perform side to side.  Get down as low as you can and jump as high as you can on each repetition.

Exercise 4: Forward Lunges and Backward Lunges
Muscles Worked: Quads and hamstrings
Reps: 15 each leg; make sure your front knee stays directly over your toes and that you are on the ball of your back foot.
Modification: Keep your lunges shallow.
Progression:  Add a jump to each repetition.

See Also:

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Eight Unique Workouts

People Live Longer If They Practice One or More Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors

Exercise 5: Reverse Crunches
Muscles Worked: Abdominals
Reps: 25; aim to lift your hips off the ground without swinging the legs.
Modification: Keep your head and shoulders on the floor and focus on gently lifting the hips off the ground.
Progression: Lift your legs so they’re bent at a 90-degree angle. Simultaneously perform a crunch with the upper half of your body with arms overhead reaching towards the toes.

Exercise 6: High Knees
Muscles Worked: Quads, hamstrings, and calves
Reps: 30 seconds
Modification: Low-impact knee lifts
Progression: Knee tuck-jumps

Exercise 7: Plie Squats
Muscles Worked: Adductors and quads
Reps: 20; wide stance with toes turned out to the side.  Make sure knees do not go past the toes and hips are tucked in while squatting.
Modification: Hold onto something for balance and keep the squats shallow
Progression: Perform on your toes

Exercise 8: Curtsy Squats on Each Side
Muscles Worked: Abductors and quads
Reps: 20; one foot steps in front of the other so you are on the ball of the back foot and hips facing forward
Modification: Hold onto something for balance and keep the squats shallow
Progression: Between each repetition, lift the back leg to perform a side lateral extension

Exercise 9: Side-Step Squats
Muscles Worked: Quads, hamstrings, abductors, and adductors
Reps: 20; start with legs only hip-width apart. Step wide to the right and squat. Bring feet back to hip-width apart and squat.  Repeat on the left side.
Modification: Don’t perform the hip-width apart squats.
Progression: Substitute the hip-width apart squat with a jump

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