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What If Seven Minutes of Exercise A Day Was Enough?

What If Seven Minutes of Exercise A Day Was Enough?

By Randee Bieler

I was worried about myself and exercise. I just turned 70 and right on que, my legs started really feeling the stairs.

I am so jealous of Husband, Peter, who loves tennis, he actually anticipates it gleefully every time he’s got a game. If I played tennis, I’d be praying for rain.

But I want my legs back, I want my stamina. It lifts my mood, too – exercise! The only downside is, you’ve got to do it. And so it gives me great pleasure to tell you about —

The New York Times 7 Minute Workout which Peter brought to my attention.

It is seven minutes of pure, torture, but when it’s over, you have the physical benefits of exercise, plus the endorphin high, plus you will be entitled to walk around for an entire day feeling self-righteous.

This hellish 7 minutes was cooked up by Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla. He is co-author of an article about “interval training” in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal.

This workout is an example of high-intensity interval training which means there are 30 second bursts of high intensity exercises (such as pushups or jumping jacks) followed by short (10 second) intervals of rest (such as laying on the floor moaning.) The idea is that subjecting your poor body to exercise in short, fast, maximum- capacity bursts, followed by just enough rest to keep you from quitting, produces the same molecular changes within muscles that you get from hours of biking or running.

There are 12 exercises in all – arranged to alternate between upper body and lower body so that no muscle group is left unscathed – it’s images a terrible experience.

The whole thing, the rests, the order – it all conspires to make sure you throw yourself into each new exercise with the enthusiasm and lack of self-regard of a steroid crazed jackrabbit. But the more you do it, the less terrible it gets, and the stronger you’ll get.

I promise – three weeks in, I am bouncing up and down the stairs. This makes me so happy. And when I mentioned it to my doctor, who is a downright irritating cheerleader for exercise, she was totally impressed, said a lot of her patients were doing great on it.

Let me just say that this is definitely not for the dedicated exercise aficionado.

If you google this program, along with a lot of glowing reviews, you will come across some negatives. Like I read one from a guy who suggested you do the whole thing multiple times as “a warm up exercise.” This guy had already jogged seven miles before trying my program.

Well God Bless. But I’m not that guy.

I am just another poor exercise-phob who is grateful to be able to be able to endure 7 minutes of torture in exchange for increased stamina, toned muscles, and the ability to bounce up and down my stairs with a sense of exercised self-righteousness.

Now For An Update

It’s now been two years since I started this exercise regime. I am happy to tell you that I am still doing the NY Times 7 Minutes six times a week and I really think i’m stronger for the ordeal. Being so short makes it possible to keep at it – at least, that’s what’s happened to me.

If you are interested in this form of exercise, here is the link to the New York Times article, including an illustrated list of the exercises (which you can also print). They even reference an app you can download should you be so inclined.

You may totally hate it, but it works – and in only 7 minutes!

Randee Bieler, is an active 70 years old and the writer of a thoughtful, activist, often humorous blog called GravyYears – as in after 60 it’s all gravy. You can connect with Randee on Twitter

This post was originally published on GravyYears and was reprinted with permission.

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