You’ve Got 5 Minutes, Make the Most of It

We’re all busy these days. We eat half of our meals in cars and the other half on the phone. Or at least it seems like it. One of the main excuses things I run into when trying to exercise is a lack of time. Well, if you’ve got 5 minutes you can do a lot of good.

Here’s the schedule:

Minute 1: Stretch

Stretching promotes blood flow and relieves tension in your body. It can help you melt away stress and relax, plus it helps with your flexibility and takes no equipment and little room to do. Find some helpful stretching techniques here. Don’t worry about getting in a full body stretch, you won’t have time. Just pick something that seems sore, or doesn’t get stretched often, and do that for one minute.

Minutes 2, 3 and 4: Push-ups*

If you’ve only got time to do one exercise. This is the one you want to do. It’s a great upper-body and core workout, it’s quiet, and it takes zero equipment to do properly. Try and do sets of 10 with 30-45 second breaks in between. Do this for 3 minutes. Proper push-up technique is here. You may not be able to do the classic at first. That’s OK. Try it with your knees on the ground or even try it standing up and pressing against a wall in front of you like you would press against a floor. If you start either of these ways you can work yourself up (or actually down) to the classic floor push-up.

Minute 5: Stretch Again

Now that you’re slightly warmed up, the stretching will be more effective at increasing your flexibility and it still retains the benefits we talked about previously.

That’s it!

If you’re scoffing at something this simple that takes 5 minutes, just remember that you have to start somewhere. Know that, at some point in time, Moby Dick was just “Call me Ishmael” at the top of a blank page. Next time you’ve got 5 minutes until your favorite show comes on or until your hot-pocket is cool enough to eat, don’t watch the ending of that crappy show that’s on before hand. (You won’t get it anyway because you missed what Rebecca said during the opening.) And don’t just stare at the new, flakier crust wishing it was “go-time” already…

You’ve got 5 minutes! Make the most of it.

[tags] 5, minute, workout, tip [/tags]

*If you find yourself doing this once a day, alternate ab crunches with your push-ups. It’s not nearly as complete an exercise as a push-up, but it works a group of muscles that don’t see much action during your day-to-day activities. (Crunches technique here.)

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    • mildweed

      This reminds me a lot of what I do in the handicapped bathroom at work over lunch. There are no handicapped people on that floor, so I feel no remorse in using the one-person bathroom and locking the door! Pushups, crunches, more pushups.

      Just this alone helped a lot after I’d been doing it for a few weeks.

    • Tommy

      But you’re working out…on a bathroom floor. Ack.

    • Wade

      Yeah, I’m going to have to second that ack.

    • aantix

      I honestly would have guessed full squats with simultaneous extension of the arms. This would work the thigh muscles and abdominals all the while stretching the arms.

      RunFatBoy ( ) – Exercise for the rest of us.

    • mikeg

      The most intensity in the shortest period of time for me is one of two exercises – jumping rope or burpees ( ).

    • Wade

      I’ve read a lot about burpees and heard people say positive stuff about them. I haven’t tried them myself. I’ll bet that would be a good thing to do here instead of the push-up, but it’s not as universal and I wanted to keep it simple. It’s also not something I’ve tried with any regularity, so I didn’t want to tell other people to do it.

    • neon

      Nice tips. This is what many people need. Easy, simple, short plans to get them started daily. I like to do 25 pushups many times a day. Just when I stand up from the PC and go to do something I will make the pushup serie. I devote each day to different pushup styles. Wide, narrow position of hands. With feet on the bed or chair. And my favorite are hindu pushups.
      And I really recommend one perfect exercise for feet – horse stand. I like to play one song in my CD player. The song is 2:30 long and I started one month before and tried to hold the proper horse stand for the whole song. It was very hard, but now I am able to stand for 5 minutes without any problem and my muscles are nicely toned.

    • Wade

      Is this what you’re talking about, neon? I’ve never heard of this before, but it sounds hard.

      HORSE: Stand with your feet about three feet apart with your toes turned outward, knees bent over your feet as much as possible at a 90 degree angle. Put your hands on your thighs and keep your arms straight. Lean slightly forward and rest the weight of your torso on your hands. Breathe deeply and relax the pelvic floor muscles. Inhale and exhale while relaxing. Hold the position as long as you are comfortable. This is a good substitute exercise for the squat if the squat is too uncomfortable.

    • neon

      I am not sure about the hands. I am doing everything possible with them while trying to squeeze another seconds :) But in general it looks like this

    • Wade

      Oh, thanks! That’s a lot clearer.

    • jojo99

      Ah, the good old horse stand! A very difficult exercise indeed. If you can even do 5 minutes, then you are better than many people. We used to have to do these for 30 minutes in kung-fu practice, but that was many years ago for me. You can make this exercise a bit easier to start out by doing it with your back against the wall.

      I also like to do push-ups and I vary the hand position. I always do push-ups on my knuckles. Makes for a strong wrist which is useful for many things, including punching when necessary. Again, old martial arts training.

      A push-up variation I don’t see many people do is to get your hands under your chest, as close together as possible. Again , I do these on my knuckles. This will work the triceps more than the shoulders. You can also make a triangle out of your thumb & index fingers and place your hands with the triangle a bit in front of your face on the floor. Then lower yourself and touch your nose inside the triangle. Another good triceps exercise.

      I also like to do a bit of self-massage. Take your opposite hand and massage all the muscles from your upper arm down to your wrist. Repeat on the other arm. It feels great and it helps avoid the dreaded carpal-tunnel syndrome.

    • Clinton Walker III

      The simple push up may be the best exercise without weight.

    • Ken

      I want to have a nice chest within 1 month. What do you recommend to get cut that quick?