We need 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity physical activity, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. It’s a great goal but it can feel unattainable for many people. If you’re new to exercise, jumping from zero to 30 minutes EVERY DAY can feel as daunting as being asked to run a marathon. This is especially true if you have no idea where to start or what to do for those 30 minutes.
Even for experienced exercisers there are days with back-to-back meetings or when the alarm doesn’t go off – again. Exercise can get pushed off the plate to balance out the daily demands on our time. With the holidays upon us, time for workouts becomes even more precious and scarce then usual. Rookie or pro, we can all fall into the “all or nothing” trap.
By the time I drive to the gym, I’ll just have to turn around and come right back. If I can’t get my whole workout in why even bother?
I can’t walk on the treadmill for FIVE minutes, how am I supposed to do 30? Where am I even going to find 30 minutes in my day?
If the “all or nothing” mentality is holding you back from getting your daily workout, I’ve got good news for you. The latest research says our minimum dose of exercise may be lower than we once thought. A recent study in the journal Lancet looked at exercise patterns and life expectancy of over 400,000 men and women. They found that as little as 15 minutes a day provided health benefits and reduced all cause mortality.
Exercise professionals know that it doesn’t have to be a consecutive amount of exercise to gain the associated health benefits. In an attempt to get our 30 minutes a day, fitness professionals have long preached breaking up workouts into five or ten minute segments. If five minutes multiple times a day works, why not do it one minute at a time?
If you stopped for one minute each hour for some form of physical activity it could add up to 15 or more minutes a day. So what can you do in a minute? Here are some ideas to get you moving all day long, a minute at a time.
Plank a Day: I love planks because they engage almost every muscle in the body. This is often the first piece of homework I give new clients because it’s achievable at ANY skill level. If my clients are pressed for time or traveling they will agree they can at least find time for one plank first thing in the morning or right before bed.
Stairs: When taking the stairs don’t go straight to your destination. If you’re headed to the second or third floor, turn around and go back down when you get there. Repeat this process until your minute is up.
Burpee Challenge: Challenge yourself to see how many burpees you can do in a minute (with good form). Burpees are another example of an exercise that works multiple muscle groups plus they are a great way to get your heart rate up. You can also keep the challenge fresh by increasing the complexity of your burpee by adding a push-up at the bottom or using dumbbells and adding a shoulder press at the top.
Squat/Push-Up Ladder: Ladders are one of my favorite techniques for time-saving workouts. Start with one body weight squat, followed by one push-up. Then do two squats, followed by two push-ups. Next are three squats and three push-ups. Keep going “up the ladder” alternating exercises until you get to 5 repetitions each or you reach the one minute mark. If you have time left at 5 repetitions, then start back down the ladder until you run out of time.
Turkish Get Ups: The Turkish Get Up is a full-body kettlebell exercise that will also get your heart rate up. Practice first when you have more time and without a weight to get your technique down on this complex exercise. Keep your kettlebell handy so you can stop and do 2-4 Turkish Get Ups per side. I love this exercise because it also mimics a very important test of strength – getting up from the ground unassisted. People who can get up from the ground without help or using their hands live longer than those who can’t.
image via fitnesshacker
Giving yourself permission to workout for only ONE minute is also a great way to convince yourself to exercise when you don’t really feel like it. We can do just about anything for one minute, right? Odds are that once you start moving you might just keep going for the whole 15 minutes you need in your day.