"No Time" for Exercise? No Problem! Start with Five Minutes

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A minute of exercise is better than none at all. That's the philosophy of Greg Whyte, author of Fit in 5 (Human Kinetics, February 2009), who confronts reluctant exercisers' most common excuse. "The message is this: Something is better than nothing; do what exercise you can and attempt to increase it," he explains.

A minute of exercise is better than none at all. That's the philosophy of Greg Whyte, author of Fit in 5 (Human Kinetics, February 2009), who confronts reluctant exercisers' most common excuse. "The message is this: Something is better than nothing; do what exercise you can and attempt to increase it," he explains.

Whyte not only uses the five-minute, small-steps approach to make the workout concept less intimidating, but actually finds it more effective than jumping into a larger program abruptly in helping inactive people adopt the exercise habit. "Gradually increasing the amount of time you spend exercising is far more successful than an instant and dramatic increase in your exercise program," he says. "Adopting a New Year's resolution mentality to exercise, going from inactivity to athlete overnight, has the same success rate as dieting: It works for a month!"

Whyte dedicates more than half of Fit in 5 to five-minute workouts and provides easy, medium, and hard variations of each. The activities use body weight and weight bands, so they can be done at home, in a gym, or virtually anywhere. The following easy sample exercises target a range of muscles.

Toe touch increases core strength and stability:

  •     Lie on your back with your arms by your side.
  •     Pull your knees up and hold them in the air, making a 90-degree angle at your hips and knees.
  •     Without arching your back, lower both feet and touch the toes lightly on the floor before

returning to the start position.            

  •     Repeat 20 times.

Oyster targets the butt, tummy, and thighs:

  •     Lie on your left side with your lower arm extended above your head. Keep the legs together, bent at 45 degrees, making a straight line from shoulders to hips to feet.
  •     Lift the upper knee as high as possible, keeping the lower leg on the floor.
  •     Return to the start position.
  •     Repeat 20 times.
  •     Turn over and repeat with the opposite leg.

Clean band exercise works the arms and legs:

  •     Place the middle of the band under your feet and hold a handle firmly in each hand.
  •     Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hands by your sides, holding the handles.
  •     Keeping your back straight and looking forward, bend the legs to 90 degrees.
  •     Straighten the legs and bend the arms, raising the hands to the front of your shoulders with the elbows down.
  •     Return to the start position.
  •     Repeat 20 times.

Whyte advises taking gradual steps to reach the recommended five 30-minute sessions per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. "Do what exercise you can and attempt to increase it over weeks and months to reach the recommendation," he says. He suggests six 5-minute bouts throughout the day or four 5-minute bouts plus one 10-minute bout to accumulate 30 minutes in a day.

Fit in 5 combines 150 exercises for strength and flexibility with guidelines for cardio training to create all-around exercise regimens. For more information on Fit in 5 or other fitness resources, visit http://www.HumanKinetics.com or call 800-747-4457.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greg Whyte is the United Kingdom's leading sport scientist and a former Olympic pentathlete. A past director of research for the Olympic Medical Institute and director of science and research for the English Institute of Sport, he is now professor of sport and exercise science at Liverpool John Moores University. Whyte has also worked as a consultant physiologist for Premiership football teams, Formula One racers, and the Great Britain Summer and Winter Olympic teams. He holds a PhD in cardiovascular physiology from the University of Wolverhampton, an MSc in human performance from Frotsburg State University, and a BSc in sport science from Brunel. He is an Ironman athlete and has competed in other ultraendurance events, such as swimming the English Channel and running the Race Across America. Whyte lives in Bucks, England.

CONTENTS

Foreword
Introduction
Chapter 1: Why Should I Bother Exercising?
Chapter 2: Surely I Can Diet and Save Myself the Energy?
Chapter 3: How Do I Structure the Workouts?
Chapter 4: How Can I Motivate Myself to Exercise?
Chapter 5: 5-Minute Workouts

  •     Core Strength and Stability
  •     Glutes, Abs and Thighs
  •     Strength and Power
  •     Band Exercises
  •     Flexibility

Chapter 6: 10-minute workouts
Chapter 7: 30-minute workouts
Chapter 8: Weekly Training Programs

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Patty Lehn

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