Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Getting Fit, 7 Minutes at a Time

The most common excuse for not exercising seems to be I don’t have time. To squeeze in a workout. To go to the gym. To do four hours of cardio or weights or whatever.

While it can be tough to carve out that time to exercise, it’s not impossible. And, as I mentioned in a previous post in this space, you don’t need any gear aside from your bodyweight.

A few weeks ago, one of the blogs on the New York Times site introduced what a headline writer described as The Scientific 7-Minute Workout.

When it comes to exercise programs (or any programs, for that matter) I’m wary of ones that are billed as being scientific. Why? It seems too gimmicky. I mean, the military press is as scientific an exercise as you’ll find, if you look at it from the perspective of physics and kinesiology.

Wearing my skeptic’s hat, I took a look at the 12 exercises that make up the workout and saw that, taken together, they show promise. They hit many of the major muscle groups and add a bit of cardio for good measure.

The proof, though, was in the doing. I tried the workout over the space of a few weeks. And, yes, it is effective. Within limits. If you’re in good condition already, the 7-minute workout won’t do much for you. It can be a good warmup, though.

But if you’re trying to get into shape, or back into shape, then this workout is definitely worth a try. I’m in the latter category. Over the last few months, I’ve been dealing with a few injuries: a pair of broken toes (which I rebroke after they healed!), an injured shoulder, and tendinitis in one of my elbows. Which means I wasn’t able to exercise much. And definitely not in the way that I wanted to.

After doing the 7-minute workout, I wasn’t a heaving and sweating mass. But I was breathing heavily, could feel the work my muscles did, and was glazed by more than just a little sweat. I’m doing this workout three times a week (and doing other exercises the other days), and it’s definitely helping my get back into condition.

Of course, remembering the exercises and timing yourself can be a bit of a chore at first. Someone has created a web-based timer for the workout and it’s actually useful. Not only does it time you (with the necessary breaks between exercises), but also lets you know what exercise is coming next. The timer works nicely on both my Nexus 7 tablet and my Chromebook, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it also worked well on a smartphone.

So, remember all those times you said you didn’t have time to exercise? Well, you have no excuse now.

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