The face of fitness is changing. Yes, we still need solid challenge to those muscles to keep muscle shape and some semblance of strength. Yet if you’ve been discouraged by the idea of hours of slugging it out at the gym, there’s good news. It’s called the 5 minute fitness break.
Research tells us that the first line of defense when it comes to exercise and your health is simply not sitting so much by punctuating periods of sedentary time with movement. That means in less than one second – the time it takes to go from sitting to standing – you positively impact biomarkers that, along with a whole foods, plant-based diet, can stride you away from disease. That is how you initiate a 5 minute fitness break – it’s that easy.
From there, it’s a short leap to sneaking in a muscle challenge. This layers in another benefit for you. Working your muscles encourages lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity in your skeletal muscle; sitting suppresses it. Remember, LPL is an enzyme with the job of extracting particles of fat in your blood and transporting them to one of two places: to your fat cells for storage or to your muscle cells to be used for energy. Where do you want yours to go? By sitting less and challenging muscle – even in short, 5 minute bouts, you are inviting your body to be a better fat burner. Simple as that.
This phenomenon is one of the important inspirations behind my collection of portable 5 minute fitness moves. Just to show you how easy it is to slip activity in, one of my favorites – because I can do this anywhere, anytime, including in the waiting lounge in the airport terminal – is Fit Quickie #9. I call this exercise ‘Higher Assets’ (pictured) because of its ability to also raise your bottom line due to the specific challenge it presents to the gluteal and hamstring muscles. These are also among the largest muscle groups of your body, which means you are getting a big return on your time spent in exercise when it comes to building that precious LPL activity in the muscles.
You can select any favorite exercise for your 5 minute fitness breaks. Combined with breaking up periods of sitting with getting up on your feet, you have a winning ticket to health and weight loss.