Three 15-Minute Exercises For Extremely Busy People

If you’re like most working women, chances are, your number one reason for not exercising is lack of time.

Am I right or am I right?

General guidelines suggest that we should be doing at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical. In theory, this is great advice. The more movement we can do in a day, the better. However, most women I know would find this impractical and unrealistic. There is work to do, meetings to attend, kids to feed, fingernails to paint, girlfriends to catch up with and so on.

I’m not about to tell you not to worry about exercise. Moving your body on a regular basis is absolutely essential to health, and not just physical health!

Image by Vanes Fitness via Pinterest
Image by Vanes Fitness via Pinterest

The more you move your body, the better your mental clarity and focus, productivity, mood and energy levels.  The more you spend sitting down on your derriere, the poorer your physical, mental and emotional health will be. In fact, research is suggesting that sitting is as bad as, if not worse than, smoking cigarettes!

OK, so back to what you clicked on this article for.

What if I told you that you could do effective, results-producing exercise in just 15 minutes a day?

What if I told you that even four minutes would be enough? Would you believe me?

This type of training is called Tabata Training and involves doing 20 seconds of intense exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. You repeat this 8 times, for a total of 4 minutes work, and then you collapse on the ground gasping for breath.

It’s tough, but it gets the job done.  A recent study on Tabata training in women found this:

 “…training using the modified Tabata protocol for 4 weeks (i) improved aerobic fitness to the same degree as 30 minutes per day of continuous high-intensity treadmill running and (ii) improved lower-body, upper-body and core muscular endurance while endurance training had no effect”

 The researchers also found that women perceived Tabata training to be more enjoyable after they experienced four weeks of it.

Now, I personally would not go so far as to say it is enjoyable. It is bloody hard work! But I do love it, and recommend it, for the results it produces and for the fact that I can squeeze it into even my busiest day at work.

Here are three 15 minute exercises for busy people.

Exercise #1

  1. Download a timer app. My personal favourite is “Tabata Timer” (creative, huh?). Or you could go for “Seconds” (free version), however you would have to manually enter 8 rounds of 20 seconds work with 10 second break interval
  2. Warm up. Go for a quick walk, or do a few lunges/squats/star jumps to get in the zone and prep your muscles
  3. Go time! Here are a couple of combinations to get you started (do each exercise as fast/hard as you can).
  • Squat (20 seconds), rest (10 seconds), push up (20 seconds), rest (10 seconds – repeat 4 times (total of 8 intervals)
  • Lunge (20 seconds), rest (10 seconds), mountain climber (20 seconds), rest (10 seconds) – repeat 4 times (total of 8 intervals)

You could also do a single exercise (e.g. squats) for 8 rounds, however going from the floor to standing will produce better results.


So there is one exercise combo that takes less than 15 minutes, but you were promised three.

Righto then.

Exercise #2 – Yoga

I know what you’re thinking, “There is NO WAY that I have time for yoga! Classes are like 90 minutes long!”

Correct. Many classes in gyms or yoga studios are 60-90 minutes long, which, if you can make it to, are absolutely fabulous for health and well-being, but we’re talking short and sharp here.

Cue the “Yoga Studio” app!

This little baby has been my saviour and has even turned my yoga-hating, inflexible, 40-something hubby into a bit of a bendy yogi (well, almost). And if he can do it, I’m sure you, gorgeous lady, can too.

Why/how? Because you can choose your length of class (15, 30 or 60 minutes), as well as your style (strength, balance, flexibility or combination) AND your level (beginner, intermediate or advanced).

Give it a try. You might not work up a sweat, but you will definitely feel better.  I personally have noticed improvements in my posture, flexibility, strength and, most importantly, my own perception of my body. I now appreciate my body more for its ability, rather than its aesthetics. And that, ladies, is priceless (or around $6 for the app).

Exercise #3 – sprints

Running. Really freakin’ fast.

It doesn’t have to be very far. Maybe 50-100 metres, at most.

It is REALLY important that you warm up adequately for this one. Go for a jog, do some lunges and squats. Take your time (at least 5 minutes) to warm up your pins, because they are going to BURN with this one.

Once you’re warm, walk the “track” that you are going to run on to make sure you’re not going to trip into any pot holes. Then, go to your starting point, run for about 10 metres, and then sprint as fast and as hard as you can for as far as you can. Turn around. Walk back to the start. Repeat. I can generally only do this 6-8 times before my legs and bum start screaming at me.

See how you go. You might only do 3-4 when you start. Warning – everything might hurt for a couple of days. But it’s worth it.

There you go ladies, no excuses now! Enjoy!


Kate Callaghan

  • Great idea for a 15-minute workout! Will definitely incorporate it to my daily routine.

  • leave a comment

    Create Account

    Log In Your Account