“I just don’t have the time” is perhaps the most common excuse for not exercising regularly, especially among the 25-and-older crowd, who are generally immersed in such time- (and energy-) sapping pursuits such as a career, raising children, etc. While it’s true that committing to exercise requires just that – a time commitment – no one said how much time.
Enter the 5-minute workout, a great way to rev up your cardiovascular system and get the blood flowing to muscles you may not have used in far too long (due to the aforementioned “not enough time” excuse). Do each of the following five exercises for 45 seconds apiece, with 15 seconds to transition from one exercise to the next (and 15 seconds at the end to cool down). Five minutes later, you’ll be done – and feel great for it. Oh, and did we mention you can do all five exercises in the comfort of your own home (or office, for that matter)? Here goes:
- Mud sprinting: Run as fast as you can for 45 seconds – without ending up any farther than where you began. Bend your knees and elbows, and lean forward slightly (keeping your eyes straight ahead and back in neutral) and sprint in place, lifting your feet off the floor with each step and moving your arms forward and back in tune with the motion.
- Push and go: Perform standard push-ups for 45 seconds, but with a twist: After each push-up, when you’ve returned to the starting (elevated) position, move one hand from the starting position to your left or right, and then do the same with your other hand (essentially, reposition your hands – as you follow with the rest of your body – so you’re moving across the floor from one push-up to the next). You’ll be surprised at the extra work your arms and chest need to do, and it’s a nice change from the single-position, one-after-the-next push-up most of us are used to doing.
- 180 degrees: Using a sturdy chair or other elevated, flat surface that can support your weight, do five inclined push-ups (hands on chair, legs extended on floor behind you) … then get up quickly and turn around 180 degrees, repositioning your hands behind you on the chair (facing away from the chair this time), so you can do five triceps dips (bend arms to 90 degrees behind you as you lower yourself toward the chair, keeping your elbows in a fixed position so you engage the back of your arms). Then switch quickly back to push-up position and repeat the routine for 45 seconds.
- Crunch, then catch: Assume a standard crunch position (lying on the floor, knees bent, etc.), but take a small medicine ball with you (the kind you can easily throw into the air and catch). Figured out what you’re going to do yet? It’s simple in theory; challenging in execution. As you crunch up 30 degrees or so, toss the ball in the air at chest level with both hands and catch it – while holding the crunch – and then return to the floor and repeat. Feel the burn for 45 seconds.
- Back and forth: Secure an exercise band around your feet, a table leg, etc. Sit on the floor, feet out in front of you, knees slightly bent, leaning back slightly (without putting the low back at risk). Grasp the handles of the band at shoulder width and pull toward your sides, spreading your chest as you do so; then extend arms back to starting position and repeat for 45 seconds. Focus on working the muscles of the upper/mid back, not your arms.
So, no more excuses for not exercising; this 5-minute workout will leave you energized – and with plenty of time left to enjoy your (busy) day. Remember to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program if you have a pre-existing health condition and/or need more information on the proper performance of these and other exercises.