The Block Plan is the enemy of self-care. Class starts at 9 a.m., followed by lunch commitments, possibly meetings, and homework. By the end of the day, little time remains for hobbies and self-care. Exercise falls to the side, which you inevitably start to feel the consequences as your waistband becomes tighter. To practice self-care and to maintain fitness, several outlets provide free, 15-minute exercise opportunities. Here are a few that I classify as fit, fun, and Block Plan friendly:
Plyometrics focus on the fast-twitch muscles in the body. These quick, sharp movements have minimal repetitions, but require high-intensity work in small 10–15 second intervals. Plyometrics have been found to increase muscle strength and endurance. These exercises are ideal for students with active lifestyles, who occasionally miss a workout. I recommend the YouTube channel “Criticalbench” to find a beginner’s guide to plyometric exercises suited for your needs. Due to the intensive nature of plyometrics, a thorough warm up is recommended.
2. HIIT (High-intensity internal training)
HIIT focuses on longer-term intervals that run from 10-30 seconds. Some of these intervals can last up to an hour. These HIIT workouts focus on cardio, strength, and flexibility. The exercises require minimum fitness expertise, and/or the understanding that you can burn calories quickly without much time. HIIT is ideal for all levels of expertise, and provides a comprehensive, cardio-intensive workout. Check out the “FitnessBlender” YouTube channel for “HIIT-spiration,” as well as several 15–20 minute workouts.
Pilates focuses on small, controlled body movements and is often paired with a careful diet. These small movements focus on increasing overall strength in the body’s foundation, while tightening and toning specific muscle groups. This exercise is the least cardio-intensive of the 15-minute workouts I found, but it requires the most strength and body control. For pilates at all levels, I recommend the “Blogilates” YouTube channel.
These YouTube channels and workouts provide a wide variety of 15-minute exercise videos for the busy Block Plan student. I hope that these exercises work as well for you as they do for me!