Tabata-My New Favorite Way to Exercise

It can take ten minutes or less. Most of us can find 10 minutes on most days, right?

Tabata is a high intensity workout that was developed from a study in 1996 designed by, and named after, Professor Izumi Tabata in Japan.  It involves intense full body exercise for 20 seconds, then 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.  So if you add in a few minutes of warm up and cool down, both of which are highly recommended, you end up at about 10 minutes. One study showed better results of those doing Tabata for 4 minutes 4 times a week than the group that exercised 5 times a week on a stationary bike for 1 hour.   I’m in!!!


Warm up: I like to start off by moving my body around to one song on Pandora, usually Johnny Rivers station playlist.

Then I access the free Tabata timer app that I downloaded to my iPhone and iPad. This tells you when to do the 20 seconds of high intensity exercise and when to rest for 10 seconds.

Actual Tabata: It goes something like this:

20 seconds rapid squats, 10 seconds rest

20 seconds push-ups, 10 seconds rest

20 seconds jumping jacks, 10 seconds rest

20 seconds burpees, 10 seconds rest


Cool down: Do slow movements and stretches to another song on Pandora. Done!

Simple and quick.  That’s my kind of exercise.  In addition, it provides both an aerobic and anaerobic workout that is great for improving endurance, stamina, and fat-burning, it protects/builds muscle tissue, and improves glucose metabolism. Here is a great link with video demonstrations and more information:

It is recommended that you perform Tabata 1-3 times a week, with rest days in between. Let me know what you think after you try it!


I also like exercising on my mini-trampoline or rebounder. It is particularly good for draining the lymphatic system and increasing bone mass. It is also easy on the joints and good for stress reduction. Did I say fun too?




There are these nifty decks of cards called Fitdecks that are a wonderful resource for ideas of different kinds of exercises that you can perform. They were developed by Navy Seal trained Phil Black. The two above are specific for exercises using only your own body weight and for children, respectively. There are a number of other versions, such as yoga and kettlebell workouts.

The big takeaway here is find something you enjoy doing to move your body more, and then do it. I hope this blog inspires you to be more active. Your body will be happier for it.

Of course I advise that you check with your doctor before starting any new exercises, and you need to build up gradually if you are not accustomed to exercising.

Happy moving more!


You might also be interested in this related article:

Importance of Exercise

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7 thoughts on “Tabata-My New Favorite Way to Exercise

    1. Difficult? Yes and no. I chose exercises that were familiar and comfortable for me, like squats. They don’t hurt my knees and I don’t mind doing them. However, one is supposed to be as intense as possible during the 20 second effort portion, and that really leaves you breathless, even more so as the workout continues.

      The bone mass building reference was particularly about the mini trampoline. However, any time you do weight bearing exercises you are helping build bones.

  1. My version of burpees is squatting down then springing up to standing with my arms acting like I am going to catch a rebound or make a shot. (March Madness is around the corner after all. 🙂

    Maybe that version will feel better on your foot.

  2. I started adding body-weight strength exercises and full body anaerobic repetitions (like burpees) to my exercise routine about a year ago and I feel such a big difference. I make sure to get in plenty of cardio for overall fitness. Adding strength has been a fun way to add variety and I feel much stronger and have all but eliminated aches and pains like back soreness. I love finding new exercises that work multiple muscle groups. I do have to ask though how 4 minutes is enough? I think I need to sweat more than that. 😂

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