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Can short daily workouts make a difference? Add to ...

The question I am a 37-year-old male trying to exercise more. Due to my schedule, I can only work out for short periods of time. An average day would be bike riding four times a day for 15 minutes at a time and a 30-minute run/walk on my lunch break. Can multiple short workouts help me lose weight?

The answer First, I want to congratulate you. Instead of using lack of time as an excuse to not exercise, you found ways to integrate activity into your daily routine.

More related to this story

Every little bit of exercise adds up. Let's do the math. You say you do 1 1/2 hours of activity a day. Assuming you do this five times a week, that means you are exercising for 7 1/2 hours, and you will burn roughly 3,200 to 4,000 calories a week.

One pound of fat is 3,500 calories. As long as you are trying to eat more consciously, and you don't replace those expended calories with unnecessary ones, you could lose approximately one pound a week.

That said, this type of exercise is not for everyone.

If you are an athlete, or an individual with specific goals above and beyond "being more active," don't be fooled. Fifteen minutes of light activity, like commuting to work on your bike, is not going to help you reach your goals.

Individuals with athletic goals, or specific aesthetic goals such as putting on muscle mass, have to tailor the specific type of exercises, duration and intensity of their training to their objective.

Trainer's Tip

You are primarily doing cardiovascular workouts. This is common when people try to integrate exercise into their daily routine without joining a gym. Once or twice a week do a 15-to-30 minute resistance-training routine. I know time is an issue, so try doing squats, lunges, push-ups and planks at home.





Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com . She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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