Science shows that 7 minutes of intensity will slow your appetite, improve metabolic and cardiovascular health.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the holidays are here and that means family, kids, shopping, celebration, food and drink! The sad fact is, that it typically doesn’t mean exercise. Many of us indulge in too much alcohol, too many desserts and way too much food. Let’s set our goals before the new year and keep in shape throughout this holiday season.
Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times, back in 2013, wrote a piece about the 7 minute workout. It is a workout designed by Chris Jordan and Brett Kilka of the American College of Sports Medicine. The idea was to come up with a simple workout that would target your entire body, could be done anywhere, and use minimal equipment. It needed to be intense because of the short duration. The result is 12 different, basic exercises done for 30 seconds each with a 10 second recovery period. I’ve done it and it’s intense. By the way, if you have more time go through it twice or three times. Or you can increase 30 seconds to 60 or 90. It’s not meant to be a complete replacement for your current exercise, but it is a wonderful supplement for this busy time of year.
Give it a try before you shower to go out for that holiday party. Then see if you feel better and eat or drink less. I bet you will. Or, do it just before heading out to the malls for the Christmas shopping. I bet you find yourself walking right past that Wetzel’s Pretzels and opting for the Green Tea instead of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbuck’s.
With all exercise, make sure you pace yourself and work up to higher numbers and a bigger output. The faster you go the more you’ll get out of it, but pay attention to your form. You don’t want to injure yourself. Most injuries happen because we go out too quickly, too far or we simply loose focus during exercise. You can track your output by measuring how many reps you do of each exercise then see if you can slowly increase over time.
All of the following exercises should be done for 30 seconds each with a 10 second recovery period in between each exercise. Should you desire a more intense workout feel free to build up to 60 or 90 seconds with each workout. If you’re doing 90 seconds, your recovery period can be up to 30 seconds. Part of the idea is to get your heart rate up and keep it up, so shorter recovery is more preferred.
1. Jumping Jacks — Just like in gym class, stand with your feet together, then jump up bringing your hands over head and widen your feet. Then jump again bringing your hands down and your feet together. Repeat.
2. Wall sit — Put your back against the wall, then scoot your legs out so that your legs are bent 90 degrees. Hold there for the duration of the exercise.
3. Push-up — Another one from PE class. Start in plank position with the arms straight and a little wider than your shoulders. Lower your arms 90 degrees and the push them straight. Repeat. You can also do this with your knees down if you don’t have the arm strength. It will come if you’re consistent.
4. Abdomen crunch — Basic sit ups. Lie on your back, bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor and sit up.
5. Step up onto a chair — Stand in front of your chair, then one leg at a time step up and down.
6. Squat — Start with your feet shoulder distance apart, bend your knees and reach your arms to the ceiling, then stand back up. These will burn your quads and glutes. For more intensity jump up off the ground.
7. Tricep dips — Back to the chair, have your hands on the edge of the chair and legs straight. Then bend your arms and push them back straight.
8. Forearm Plank — Hold plank pose on your forearms. Make sure you extend your shoulder up.
9. High knees running in place — Just like it sounds, but make sure you get those knees high.
10. Lunges — These are a killer for your quads. A deep step forward and get your front leg to 90 degrees. Your back leg will bend as well which is fine.
11. Push-up rotation — Start at the top of a push-up or plank position, roll to the outside of your right foot and lift your left arm to the ceiling. Back to plank and repeat on the other side. As you get better with this exercise you can begin adding a push-up in between sides.
12. Side Forearm Plank — Start in Forearm Plank (exercise #8) then roll to the outside of your right foot and lift your left arm to the ceiling. Hold there for 15-30 seconds, come back to the center and switch sides.
It hurt so good, right?! Feel free to leave comments or questions, I’ll be happy to answer them. If you’re interested you can also go to nytimes.com/7-minute-workout and download the app which includes the latest version called the Advanced 7 Minute Workout. It uses small weights and gets you out of the monotony of the first installment. Good luck and may you feel stronger, healthier and become less prone to injury!
Photo Credit: flickr.com/IrishTypepad