Got Five Minutes? You Can Get Fit

September 25, 2012   17 Comments

Does it sound like I am trying to sell you a bridge? Or maybe Snack Girl has become one of those websites that PROMISES you will lose 5 pounds in 24 hours, if you just buy this potion.

5 Minute Fitness

Recently, a friend of mine asked me how to get fit and I found myself saying, "Start with five minutes." And, my friend said, "You should be on a talk show." :)

Most of us think that if we didn't go to the gym, sweat for an hour lifting strange objects or run like a gerbil - we didn't work out. And some of us, ahem, just give up THINKING about the gym and the gerbils.

That person is already overwhelmed before she even starts! The guru who told me about five minutes is a personal trainer who was my pal. She was helping me get back on track after having spent too many hours in a library consuming M&M's and sitting on my butt.

Yes, I had stopped moving and I couldn't conceive of what it would take to get me in any sort of shape where I felt good again. So, five minutes.

I put on my watch, walked out my door, and walked for 2.5 minutes away from my house and then I walked 2.5 minutes back to my house. I committed to doing this every other day for a week.

Then, the next week I committed to 10 minutes (5 away and 5 back). The third week of walking included 15 minutes - and then I noticed something profound.

I felt like walking!

If you had asked me before I started my five minutes - "Do you want to walk today?" - I would have said, "No way, I want to sit on this couch and turn on the boob tube."

After a couple of weeks of doing just a WEE bit of exercise - I felt like getting off the couch. More importantly, if I took a day off from my walk - I missed it!

Strange, no?

Recently, a study was published on the effect of a wee bit of exercise on people in Taiwan (see 15 minutes of Daily Exercise Can Help).

The study found those who exercised just 15 minutes a day — or 90 minutes a week — cut their risk of death by 14 percent and extended their life expectancy by three years compared with those who did no exercise.

Yes, I want three more years of life. And, yes, I can find 90 minutes a week for exercise!

The message is that any physical activity is better than ZERO physical activity. We all have our excuses for not being fit - time and money are the most prevalent.

You see, I don't have $70 a month for a gym, and I don't have an hour a day to exercise there anyway.

I DO have shoes and 15 minutes, though.

Please share your thoughts on time, money, and exercise.

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Great post! I feel like an exercise failure every day when I read my friends posts on fb saying "at the gym". I also do not have the money to join. I work a full time job, am taking 3 classes at school and am a wife and mom of 3 kids ages 7-13. Can I find 5 mins in my day? Of course! I can probably even find 10. Thanks for the suggestion!

You are so right! I started doing that this week.

After a 3 week lazy break of no exercise, I couldn't get myself back. Finally, I said I'll just go for 15 minutes. It worked and I'm edging to 1/2 hour and I think I'm back!! Great inspirational post

Great post!!!! I lost over 30 lbs and no gym was required!! My Husband always says, you have sneakers and the world, just go walk!!

Always good to be reminded that you don't need to exercise an hour a the gym! Very good post.

I stick to a regular routine of a minimum of 30 minutes of walking everyday,rain or shine(that's what umbrellas are for!) 4 or 5 times a week I supplement with a few minutes of light weights,stretches and resistance band exercises. I also do little things like have my husband park further away,and do as much walking when I shop or am out running errands as I can. Also,at least once a week my husband and I either find a nature trail or take long walks around to town when we go out for drinks. I think the key is to getting more activity is to do something that doesn't feel like "exercise" such as taking a walk on a nice day,playing with your kids or even gardening your own fresh produce. I think involving other people helps too. If you have someone with you to hang out with,the time flies by and exercise becomes more of a fun activity.

Awesome Post I have been making better choices as far as food has gone logging everything on MFP, but the excerise is the thing that gets pushed off until tomorrow and then next week, so now I will commit myself to the 5 min a day, I think I might even be able to commit to 10 min a day! have motivated me to give it a go again. I've been in the "I have no time to exercise-it's too hot-it's too cold-the dog is sleeping and I don't want to bother her-time to make dinner-time to eat dinner-I'm too tired-there might be bears out there-oh my!"...mode. But FIVE minutes...I think I can do that. If I could only find my sneakers now! (kidding)

I hope lots of people read your post. Walking has been my exercise of choice for quite a long time, mostly due to the same:

* lack of money to spend on a gym

* limited time availability

* the way I feel energized afterwards, no matter what the weather conditions

After multiple foot and knee surgeries it was necessary to begin walking all over again. Things hurt so I did the same as you: 5 minutes out and 5 minutes back. I gradually increased to doing that several times each day, and then for longer stretches of time.

I listen to audiobooks, as I find they distract me from joint pain. Being interested in the story keeps me going so I can "hear" what happens next. Using a pedometer helps in that I can see my progress and strive to attain more distance each day or at least each week.

Not only does walking raise your endorphins (happiness results), but it helps your body get to sleep better, and it helps reduce belly fat. Walking can be of great benefit to diabetics and can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Since statistics show walking or other physical exercise can add years to your life, and you have a totally win-win solution!

And after three weeks of walking, most people DO find they miss it if they skip a day. Such a great habit to get into.

And don't forget the stress relief! Depending on weather and other factors, sometimes I'll walk for exercise, sometimes I'll go to the gym, and sometimes I'll go to a zumba class. All have their place, but I would definitely say walking outside is the best for stress - especially if you let your mind wander wherever it may while you're walking.

I have been walking with my neighbor 5 nights a week for 15 years, we do 3 times around the block which ends up doing 2 1/2 miles. Plus I have a job that I walk constantly going from building to building. Everyone says you are in good shape, they don't realize I love to eat (90% healthy)so if I don't exercise I would be heavy.

When the weather is just too gross for a walk you can log on to sites like fitsugar & yoga journal. They have free 10 - 20 minute videos that you can do in the privacy of your home (or office if you have your own).

I completely agree! A year after having my daughter, I still hadn't done anything about the extra weight I had put on. One day, I just decided, it's time to get moving! I started by doing 20 minute walks 3x per week. Now I'm up to 25 minute walks 3x per week plus two morning yoga sessions a week and a tap class! It feels great to be moving and some of the weight has started to fall off (albeit slowly). The healthy snacking tips from Snack Girl are helping that part of things! I too felt overwhelmed by the idea of even getting out there, but once I committed myself to doing it and started, I have found I WANT to get out there. Just like Snack Girl said! Good luck everyone!

You just reminded me about all the walking we'll be doing in Ireland and I shouldn't be so worried about getting my workouts in. Thank you!!!

Walking is excellent in many ways. On those cold or rainy days; or in between your walks, turn on your music and dance around the house. Good for body and mind.

My gym is not $70 it is $30/month (thank you, Groupon!). I also have a friend that just got $39/month at Golds. Some are even only $10/month (no classes with that one though). In this economy the gym is not as expensive as you think!

This is a good reminder to not spend your lunch hour at your desk...and get outside for a few minutes if you can.

I say if you're too lazy to walk, get a dog! Rain or shine, tired or not, I have to walk my dog at least an hour a day. It's become a part of my life and I actually look forward to it.

Also, if you love to dance, join a Zumba class. You'll party your way to losing weight!

Ok, Snack Girl, this motivates me. My mom always wants me to walk with her when we are together and I hate it! She power walks for miles and it has ruined walking as exercise for me. But 5 minutes, at a pace that I can handle - I can do that. I'm going to do it today before I pick up my kids from school. Thank you!

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