We all know that going to the gym is an absolute pain sometimes. Especially after a long day at work, having to come home, do the chores, and cook dinner, a workout seems impossible. On one of those days you have considered those famous 5-minute workouts, but do they really make a difference? It seems like a long shot, but let’s see what the science has to say.
How Much Do You Really Have To Exercise?
It’s recommended that you get about 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week or 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity.1 The point is to get your heart rate up and your metabolism pumping. Usually, these 5- minute workouts are intense bursts of physical activity in a short span of time. If you manage to squeeze in these workouts every single day of the week, it actually adds up to 35 minutes of extremely intense activity. And that’s definitely better than nothing.
New studies show that the intensity of the activity is what matters and not the duration. In fact, for every minute of brisk activity, the odds of obesity reduced by 5 % for women and 2% for men.2 Another study found that even small amounts of intermittent exercise help keep hunger levels down during the day.3
High-Intensity 5-Minute Workout
Here’s an example of a simple 5-minute workout. To do this workout, simply do as many reps as you can of each of these exercises in 30 seconds unless mentioned otherwise.
1. Wall Sit
- Start by standing with your back against the wall and your feet hip-width apart.
- Start walking your feet out about a foot and a half.
- Keeping your back firmly pressed into the wall, slide down into a sitting position.
- Keep your knees stacked above your ankles with a 90-degree bend.
- From here you can either bend your elbows and place your hands behind your head or if you have access to dumbells, you can add them in here to make it a little more challenging.
- Remember to keep your belly engaged and your torso upright.
- Hold this position for one minute.
2. Squat Jump
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your arms to the side.
- Bend your knees into the squat, pulling your arms up in front as if in a fighting position.
- While squatting make sure your knees don’t bow inwards or outwards but stay aligned with the rest of your leg.
- Your chest should remain above your hips so that your lower back is not strained.
- Come back up into starting position and jump up lightly.
- When you land, go back into a deep squat and repeat.
- Continue this for as many reps as you can in 30 seconds.
3. Knees And Toes
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your sides.
- Start running in place with your arms tucked in but your hands out in front of you.
- Bring your right knee up to touch your left hand and vice versa.
- Once both sides are done once, on the next step, tap your left hand to the right foot, and vice versa on the next step.
- Continue this by alternating knees and feet as you go forward.
- Do this for 30 seconds completing as many reps as possible.
4. Low Squat Sprint
- Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width.
- Keep your elbows bent at your sides with your palms facing forward.
- Bend your knees and lower into a squat with your chest up, and your eyes facing forward.
- Rise up onto the balls of your feet and sprint in place.
- Keep your legs moving fast and try to keep up that speed for 30 seconds.
5 Minutes Does Help But Don’t Stop There
A good rule of thumb is to stretch it to about 10 minutes of daily activity throughout the rest of the day with small changes. Try out these tips.
- Use the ad breaks when you watch TV to do a continuous stretch of jumping jacks.
- You can use the time you brush your teeth to do some squats
- At work, use the stairs instead of the elevators. You get extra points if it takes more than a minute to get to your floor.
- When you head out to do errands, either walk to the store or park further away.
- If your groceries will fit in a basket instead of a trolley, use the basket. Switch the weight between your hands as you walk around and don’t set it down while in the checkout queue.
The bottom line is, any activity, no matter how short, can count if it’s intense enough. And any physical activity is better than no physical activity. Now that you know how important even the smallest amount of exercise can be, get out there and get moving!
|↑1||Taking Action: Increasing Physical Activity Levels of Americans. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.|
|↑2||Move It and Lose It: Every ‘Brisk’ Minute Counts. University Of Utah|
|↑3||Holmstrup, M. E., T. J. Fairchild, S. Keslacy, R. S. Weinstock, and J. A. Kanaley. “Satiety, but not total PYY, Is increased with continuous and intermittent exercise.” Obesity 21, no. 10 (2013): 2014-2020.|