Are you feeling less motivated to exercise right now due to the (partial) lockdown? I get it: facing a one hour work-out may seem overwhelming at a time when you are worrying about your loved ones, your health, the economy and the world in general. Not everyone is in the right headspace right now to join an online class or is even able to go outside. And while I still advise to try to get some prolonged movement in at least a few times per week, even if it is with a simple walk, there is also an easy alternative: the 5 minute workout.
What is it?
It is very simple: try to get as many 5 minute workouts in per day as possible. Aim for a minimum of three but if you manage to do more, even better. Some people set an alarm every hour or two hours, others may use a certain ‘trigger’, for example each time they get up to use the restroom or before every meal.
A mini workout does not require any special equipment: you can use your own body weight as resistance. Just pick 2-4 different types of exercise to do during those 5 minutes and alternate them between each mini-workout.
Then decide how many reps and sets to do.The specific number is not important but follow this general rule: it is better to do multiple sets of lower reps than one long set with a lot of reps. Try to start with 5 reps per exercise and do as many sets as possible within those 5 minutes. You can always work your way up to more reps per set.
Some ideas for exercises you can do
• running in place
• jumping jacks
• rope jumping
• leg lifts
• any exercise that involves small weights or resistance bands
• running up and down the stairs
So will I burn fat?
I need to stress this first: getting up to move is simply great for your health, both physical AND mental, period. But if you are also worried about gaining weight during lock-down I have some great news for you: you can certainly burn some calories during the mini-workout.
But the real benefit comes AFTER the workout is completed: a 5 minute workout can help you burn more fat all day. Yes you read that right: it is called the ‘afterburn effect’ or post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) and it can last for up to 48 hours.
And what does that mean? Your body consumes more oxygen and burns more fat in the hours following an intense workout, even if it only lasts 5 minutes. How good is that?
What if I can not manage it multiple times per day?
There will be days when you simply can’t get all of your planned 5 minute workouts in. Life happens and in times like these it is best to take each day as it comes.
Does that mean you might as well give up completely? Absolutely not! Just do what you can: any exercise at all is better than nothing!