All You Need Is Five Minutes For Fitness

Five Minute 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.

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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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!

on September 2, 2011

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!


on September 2, 2011

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 =)

on September 2, 2011

*Shoes definately not necessary! :)

on September 2, 2011

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

on September 2, 2011

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!

on September 2, 2011

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!

on September 2, 2011

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...

on September 2, 2011

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!

on September 2, 2011

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.

on September 2, 2011

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!

on September 2, 2011

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. :)

on September 2, 2011

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.

on September 2, 2011

@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!

on September 2, 2011

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.

on September 2, 2011

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!

on September 2, 2011

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

on September 2, 2011

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 :)

on September 2, 2011

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?? ;)

on September 2, 2011

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).

on September 2, 2011

When my sister lived in Texas, she was obese. I was walking three days a week and she wondered how to get started. I said, "Start by walking as far as you can, even if it's only a half a block or less." That started her on her way and she eventually lost over ninety pounds using Weight Watchers as well. The Japanese have a name for this: kaizen. It can also be used for incorporating healthier foods in your diet and eliminating junk food.

on September 2, 2011

Same here! I read somewhere that a healthy person takes approximately 10,000 steps a day. I bought a pedometer and found that I was doing less than 2,000. I slowly built up, and that pedometer has been my biggest cheerleader! As I've walked my muscles have tightened up, so it looks as though I've lost 10 times what I actually have!

on September 2, 2011

Altho my idea of the good life is for my feet to never touch the ground (I'm clumsy, overweight, etc.), I believe exercise is the fountain of youth & "move it or lose it." I've progressed to running all but barefoot (i.e., in ballet slippers) uphill on public treadmills. It's done wonders 4 me! At 66, I hadn't increased my bone density with osteoporosis meds and running in shoes on a treadmill for years. However, when I was 65 1/2 & last saw my bone doctor, she said I could stop all the meds & return in 2 years. (And this was with almost no dietary/supplemental calcium because, as my gynecologist had taught me, it needs estrogen to work. And recent medical studies have demonstrated that much $$ is being wasted on unmetabolizable calcium in post-menopausal women.) I also lift weights a lot. And I broke both my ankles in the past year & they have healed like new! And my recent lipid panel(blood fats) was better than it had been for many years. Since I can't read while running, I use very accurate programmable timers to tape favorite radio newscasts, & my running time passes painlessly. I also run uphill, which has strengthened my spine in the area where it had previously been the most porous (my lower back). (If u try going uphill, though, u must stretch your anterior tibialis muscles afterwards to avoid pain the next day.) Also, like Lisa wrote, interval training is the ONLY way to go.

on September 2, 2011

One of my friends and I are training for a 10K that's coming up in October and part of the walk includes an uphill portion. I feel so good that both of us have agreed that after the 10K we're going to continue walking at least three miles, 3 days per week.

on September 2, 2011

I started walking on the beach while I was on vacation. Now I walk by the river. Wouldn't miss it.

on September 3, 2011

This is very motivating. Once the kids go back to school, I am going to start walking the dog every morning. I can find a small amount of time to do that. So it is the beginning of Sept. I would like to lose some lbs by Christmas and show up to my family a little lighter! Thanks for the great posts. Keep em'
coming! :D

on September 3, 2011

A good start for sure. Another good thought is Half Hearted Effort yields Half Hearted Results. And aiming to do something EVERY DAY means it is no biggie to skip a day, vs. skipping a day when you only intend two or three int he first place. Running COMPLETELY changed for me going from one a week to four a week. Not as hard or painful. As for me I had to get over the mindset of "But I'm pretty now!" and the pain and time to shower and get pretty again. I like wearing my hair up and not showering day two, but that RARELY happens now that I am exercising. But I feel better. WHEW.

on September 3, 2011

Walking is a great way to kickstart your fitness - it takes around 3 weeks to make something a habit - try to add more things as you go slow steps lead to great strides!

on September 4, 2011

So true. I started going up to the high school track (i live in a small town). I went up to the track maybe once a week with my best friend. We would usually walk for about twenty to thirty minutes. We got to the point where we started walking for an hour or two. I'm not much of a runner, so it was great for me!

I have always hated running and just going up there to walk encouraged me to WANT to run, and I missed it when I didn't. I think starting out small is the best way!

on September 4, 2011

This is a fabulous post! I liked Izabel's comment "get a dog...". That was the best thing I did. I rescued one from my local shelter and having to take care of his needs meant my diabetes improved, my LDL cholesterol reading dropped back down to safe levels,my HDL went up, my thyroid function balanced out and I've lost 30 lbs. It's amazing what just plain old walking can do for you. Better yet, it's FREE! :-)

on September 5, 2011

Love this post. I started losing weight by going to a women's circuit training gym for 15 mins at a time, gradually working up to longer and finally to running marathons. Gotta start with baby steps. Nice job.

on September 7, 2011

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