Tabatas? Gesundheit! ~ by Marj Ivancic

Photo: Deposit Photos
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m an advocate for exercise and physical activities for all the mental, emotional, and physical reasons touted in media channels across the board. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to share one of my favorites with you. 

It’s something called Tabata.

I think it worthy of sharing because it mitigates three key roadblocks people often site as reasons for not trying and/or adopting exercise:

Now technically, Tabata is a form of interval training, but for the sake of this conversation, I’m going to look at it as a pattern of movement. I’m doing so because when people hear “interval training,” they immediately imagine a sculpted twenty-something yelling at them to work harder, and that’s NOT how I look at Tabata.

At its most basic, here’s how Tabata works.

Photo: Deposit Photos
For twenty seconds, you move. Then you rest for ten seconds. Repeat that sequence eight times, and that is “one” Tabata. Between Tabatas, you rest a full minute. So, in total, one Tabata is five minutes long. You can daisy chain as many together as you like. 

And to make it even easier, there are companies, like Power Music, that premix soundtracks with all the start/stop/rest cues that you need, so you don’t even have to watch a clock or find music with a good beat.

That’s the structure to which I referred earlier.

Now comes the variety. 

For those twenty seconds of movement, you get to choose what you do! And you can do whatever you want. You can do the same movement all eight times, or you can mix and match. You can do cardio, weights, a combo—it’s up to you.  And you can include equipment, like treadmills and ellipticals, or simply make space in your living room for some fancy footwork. You’re in the privacy of your own home; be as silly as you want. 

Photo: Deposit Photos
And here’s where the adaptability comes into play!

If you’re limber enough and can go all out with burpees, squat-jacks, sprints, and so on—have at it! You want to resurrect some good ole Jane Fonda moves, do it!  Or if you have an ailment or an impairment, go with whatever you are able AND allowed to do—seated leg lifts, arm raises, etc. (Obviously, consult with you doctor before trying anything!!!) It doesn’t matter what “level” you’re working at, just as long as you’re putting focus and intention into what you’re doing.
Photo: Deposit photos

The point I’m making is that you don’t have to be a gym rat to use this technique. You can adjust this to fit your individual needs across the board—time, activity, level. It doesn’t matter what you do. The end result is movement. And movement is good…good for the body, the brain, and the heart.


  1. This is definitely something I am looking into. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. Thank you, Grace! Hope you find it helpful!

  3. Such good reminders for me, Marj. Like most other authors, I need movement mixed in with all the sitting.

  4. Tabata is a great way to get the body into shape. It can be quite challenging for beginners. It requires a lot of stamina, and I wouldn't recommend it for those with weak knee joints. Thanks for your Informative Blog , Marj. Good thing that you've advised everyone to consult a doctor before trying anything!



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