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Bob Wilcher: The 20-Minute Workout

If pressed for time, even some exercise will benefit your body and mind

Although I would recommend cardiovascular exercise for about one hour four to six days a week, you can get in a great 20-minute workout if your time is limited. Even this little amount of exercise can greatly benefit your body and mind if done correctly.

Bob Wilcher
Bob Wilcher (John Conroy photo /

Don’t use the excuse “I don’t have time to exercise” anymore. If you find yourself pressed for time, then try the following workout. You can use a stationary bike, elliptical, rower, treadmill or really any type of cardio equipment. You could even go for a jog and follow the plan.

Warm up for eight minutes by setting the machine at a lower resistance and trying to spin your legs at a brisk pace. If you are jogging, then just go easy. After four minutes, pick up your pace by 10 percent to 20 percent and spin those legs for one minute at that pace. This faster pace should not be a sprint. It should be an effort that you can maintain, but it should make you breathe more. Then go back to your beginning pace for another three minutes until you reach eight minutes.

By this time, you should feel a light sweat beginning. If you are not feeling warm and your pores haven’t begun to sweat, then try to increase the pace of your warmup a little bit. If you are not a regular exerciser, then it may be difficult for you to sweat. Just give it time. It will happen. Everyone has the ability to sweat. You have just never worked hard enough to sweat before. That will all change if you are consistent.

So you are now at the eight-minute mark. Add a little more tension on the machine and really put out a good effort for one minute Don’t sprint, but go aggressive for the whole minute. Then rest for one minute by backing off the tension and spinning easy. Do this for eight minutes (four rounds). You should feel like you need the rest when it comes. If you don’t feel that way, it means you weren’t pushing hard enough.

After four rounds, you should now be at 16 minutes. Go 30 seconds at a faster pace than you did for the one-minute hard intervals. Then go 30 seconds easier. Do this for two minutes (two rounds).

Now you should be at 18 minutes, and it’s time for an easy cool down. Just spin your legs easy until you get to 20 minutes. Get off, do a quick stretch and get on with your day. That 20 minutes will fly by.

Remember, you can adapt this to just about any cardio exercise. Even if someone just did this program four days a week, they would do a great service to their health, but I would strongly encourage everyone to exercise four to six days a week doing some type of cardiovascular activity.

Good luck!

— Dr. Bob Wilcher is a chiropractor and personal trainer in Santa Barbara. He owns Killer B Fitness, a personal and group training studio also located in Santa Barbara. Contact Wilcher at or 805.448.2222.

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