I just glanced at the front cover of a consumer fitness magazine and the front cover screams:

“Five Minute Workout!” Read this article if you Hate to exercise

First, let me be clear that I’m no believer in torturing yourself at the gym. But if you are going to (and you are going to follow a traditional exercise program) why are you trying to find the shortcut?

Public health researchers consistently agree that human bodies need consistent movement throughout the day, week, month, year, decade, half century and life.

You can start in “late adulthood” (age 40-60) and reap the same health benefits as if you had started earlier, but the key word is “start”. Once you start, the goal is to commit and to continue.

Consistent, sustained movement does not happen in “21 days” or “5 minutes”.

There is actually is no such thing as a “5 minute workout”.

A five minute exertion is carrying your groceries. Or moving boxes in or out of your storage locker. Or taking the stairs. Or moving the lawn. Or shovelling the walk.

And those tasks are simply called “active living”.

The case for going to the gym or “working out at home” for five minutes is that it’s arguably better than nothing at all. But research shows that those who worked out are more sedentary in the rest of their day: they believe they have checked the “i exercise” box. So put that way, 5 minutes is worse than 0.

Are you accruing health benefits in 5 minutes? Yes.

Are you “working out” in 5 minutes? No. You are taking a shortcut.

While don’t believe that success is measured in minutes at the gym, I will never be convinced that the path to quality or success (to anything) is a shortcut.

I would rather you own the concept of “zero minute workouts” than waste even 5 at the gym believing you are actually working out.

It’s alluring, but don’t believe the hype. Get out your lawnmower instead.

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