Whenever I talk to people who reluctantly admit they don’t exercise, the number one excuse I hear is they don’t have time. Very understandable in today’s hectic world we all live in where our days are consumed with work, family, friends and the couch. Going to the gym, doing some cardio, then weights, showering and a drive home can easily eat up a couple hours of your day. Who has time for that 3 – 4 times a week? Well for those that really are restricted by time, there is a new option for you. The American College of Sports Medicine recently published a paper that describes a seven minute exercise program that is scientifically proven to provide many of the fitness benefits you get from a prolonged endurance training session. You also be happy to know that all you need is your body, a chair and a flat wall. This makes this routine especially beneficial for those who travel or do not have the financial means for that home exercise room or to join a gym.
The program works on a few principles that include an exercise order that allows for opposing muscle groups to alternate between resting and working over 12 exercises, 30 second exercise intervals that allow for 15 – 20 reps at an intensity level of 8 (out of 10), and 10 seconds rest between each exercise. If you follow the program and stay within the required exercise and rest intervals the program will only take 7 minutes. The specific exercises to be performed are as follows:
1. Jumping jacks Total body
2. Wall sit Lower body
3. Push-up Upper body
4. Abdominal crunch Core
5. Step-up onto chair Total body
6. Squat Lower body
7. Triceps dip on chair Upper body
8. Plank Core
9. High knees/running in place Total body
10. Lunge Lower body
11. Push-up and rotation Upper body
12. Side plank Core
I found many videos on YouTube that show how to go through this program. However, I found most to be pretty annoying due to the low quality cartoon figures or the poor (sometimes offensive) selection of music that accompanies the video. Here’s one of my favorite. Very low key but with helpful tips along the way.
As noted by NY Times fitness writer, Gretchen Reynolds, “those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done”. Can’t we all find 7 minutes in the 1,440 minutes we get each day?