The #1 Reason You Quit Exercising

Learn how to fit in 150 minutes of cardio per week your way!Learn how to fit in 150 minutes of cardio per week your way!If sticking to a regular workout plan is near impossible, the surprising culprit could be your rigid exercise schedule. Luckily, your path to getting fit doesn't require a strict plan. Logging just 2 1/2 hours of cardiovascular exercise each week will help you burn calories, brighten your mood, and reduce your risks of heart disease and diabetes. In fact, new research shows that adults who rack up this amount of moderate to vigorous activity each week can live up to 5 years longer than sedentary adults. So, your goal for this month: Squeeze in at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) of exercise every 7 days your way; it doesn't matter how you do it!

"Look at your schedule and figure out the best days and times to fit chunks of heart-pumping cardio into your week," says Prevention's fitness expert Chris Freytag. "Maybe you'll divide your 150 minutes into a 30-minute brisk walk 5 times a week, or maybe it's a 90-minute hike on Sunday and a 60-minute Spinning class Wednesday night. You can break it up however you like, as long as you hit a total of at least 2 1/2 hours by the end of each week."

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Your only guideline: You need to make sure you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. "When you're working out at this level, you'll be able to speak in short sentences but not sing the words of your favorite song without taking a breath," says Chris. "For most people, activities like a brisk walk, jogging, aqua aerobics, bicycling, or playing tennis are great options." Just pick something that you like to do and have fun with it! If you hate the treadmill, get creative and take your workouts outside with some upbeat music, create a "walk and talk" book club, or invite a friend to try a Zumba class with you. (New to Zumba? Get inspired with these 6 women who danced off weight with Zumba.) "Working out can be really fun, so don't look at it as a chore," she says. Remember, we'll be here to cheer you along and offer inspiration each step of the way by signing up for our daily newsletters.

Quick Tip: Speed results with 2 or 3 interval workouts each week.
You've heard us say it before, and we'll say it again, because the proof is in the science-backed pudding: Interval training--alternating high-intensity bursts of exercise with moderate--intensity ones for the duration of your workout-is an easy way to increase calorie burn and get faster results in less time.

Try this beginner-friendly interval workout the next time you walk, swim, bike, or hop on the elliptical: Alternate 30 seconds at a fast pace with 90 seconds at a moderate pace and repeat that 9 times. (Always do a short warm-up first.) Slowly reduce the time you spend at a recovery pace as you become more fit.

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