All You Need Is Five Minutes For Fitness

September 2, 2011   31 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.

Five 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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First 20 Comments: ( See all 31 )

This is a great post! I love the part about feeling as if we need to run like gerbils for hours to get a work out. We shouldn't feel this way!

I started by telling myself to be less efficient. Yes - LESS! I don't pile myself up with groceries - I carry one bag at a time, so I have to make multiple trips.

From there, I started feeling the urge to move even more, and started walking. And from there, a running program - there are several out there now that train for distance events (from 1 mile to marathons) and they all focus on intervals of pushing and intervals of ease, and all stress NOT overdoing it - going as slow as you need and NOT pushing ahead in the program!


I agree - great post! I keep an exercise ball on the floor in the living is easy to get off the couch & get moving during the commercials, if nothing else. Every little bit parking far away at the supermarket...and then returning the cart back to the store after you load your groceries in the car =)

*Shoes definately not necessary! :)

Yes, this is a great post! It doesn't matter what you do - just do something!

When I started running I could only go the distance between two lamp posts, so I would run one walk two, run one walk two, etc. Less than a year later I'm running three or four miles at a time! Plus, it helped me lose another thirty pounds. I'm down a total of ninety!

Fantastic post -- and great advice. Same here, I started out with 5-10 minutes a day because that was all I *could* do. Five years later, I do work out and do 5K's whenever I can (hard to do when you work on Saturday mornings, but....). And I never imagined I could do it. Perseverance is so key - all that matters is that you do it, not how long it takes you!

Thanks for the inspiration! I do some workouts - yoga & Pilates, but not much cardio. I like the slow & working up to it approach... I did try to walk one / run one between telephone poles the other day & signed up for a Running Basics class at our HS... Also - thanks for my prize - the Soda Stream! It's great - will send pics when I have a chance...

Love this post. I started the same way, walking around the block, now I walk a minimum of 8 miles a day, 7 days a week. In bad weather I use the dreaded treadmill while reading or watching the tube. Thanks for the encouragement!

Absolutely true!!! I started the same way in the fall of 2007. Just a few minutes around my apartment complex was all I could manage. After a few weeks my body could do more, but more importantly I WANTED to do more. Soon it wasn't 10-15 mins 3 times a week, it was an hour 6 times a week. By the summer of 2009 I had dropped 100lbs. I went from a size 18-20 to a size 4. All it took was commitment to it. Which, once you get started, will be easy. You really do crave more once you get yourself going.

A great way to start is to walk with a like-minded friend. My friend and I started walking in our neighborhood when our sons started first grade. As soon as the boys got on the bus in the morning, she and I would walk for about 30 minutes. Now our boys are 23 years old, and we are still walking each morning. We are now walking an hour and 15 minutes. It feels great to know that we are both dedicated to our walk and that we can count on each other's encouragement when we aren't really feeling like walking that day....we do it anyway so the other person won't have to walk alone!

If you don't feel like walking, get a dog. You'll be amazed at how your motivation goes way up when there is this wonderful being looking at you to take him out for a stroll. I walk at least an hour a day with my dog, rain or shine. And, if you love to dance, Zumba is a great way to ditch the workout and join the party. :)

Zumba is fun, as is Jazzercise. It is old school (been around for a long time) but is still a lot of fun. I go at 5:30 am with a goal of 3 days a week, plus a double class on Saturday that doesn't start till 7:30. I made a lot of great friends there, and they keep me going back.

@Shanna- I totally agree! I started going to Zumba with a friend once a week. We slowly added a second day and then a third day. We can't get enough. It's so much fun and you don't even realize you're working out!

Perfect post. A word of advice that an exercise physiologist gave me about a year ago when I said I didn't have 20 extra minutes a day: schedule it in just like you would schedule a doctor's appointment or a meet with a friend. I'm up to about 250 minutes/week and now that I schedule that time for *me*, I feel perkier and happier and everybody has noticed the difference. I may have just a little less time with my husband and kids (but not much suprisingly!), but now I'm happy and energetic rather than tired and grumpy.

When talking to a friend about my distaste for exercise she gave me a great trip. If you have stairs in your house, use your stairs as often as possible. If I need to put something upstairs I run up and down 4 times, then run up put the item away and then run back down. If I have to use the bathroom I run up and down 4 times, then use the bathroom upstairs then run back down. I try to add going up and down as often as possible!

This has motivated me to walk. Or at least start learning those Korean pop music dances ;)

Nice article. Ive been doing the same thing except i walk indoors. I started out barely doing 5mins. Now im able to walk 20mins straight and it feels good :)

Can you tell the 107 degree Texas days to go away so i don't have to get up at 5 am to go for a walk?? ;)

As a personal trainer who focuses on working with clients at home, this is the conversation I have with clients, usually before they become clients. Thanks for sharing a simple, foundation building health tip with your fans (subscribers).

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