Many of us still struggle to incorporate a regular workout routine when approaching our health amidst the ongoing pandemic even though our workout options have diversified and multiplied pretty massively over the past few years. With the incorporation of workout programs and movement plans within structured diets, the development of at-home systems and apps, and the existence of smartwatches that boast workout assistants and personal training benefits, exercise options truly run the gamut.
We know what you’re wondering. “Does a 5 minute workout really help?” The answer? Every bit of movement helps. In fact, a recent study concluded that dividing exercise up into condensed chunks can help with appetite control, and if you’re currently in a work-from-home situation, it could be the perfect time to try out multiple 5-minute options per day.
When completed on a consistent basis, 5-10 minute workouts can make a profound difference, especially in your mobility and basic muscle functions. Targeting various muscles and making sure that your form is correct can help to really show physical differences in addition to the boost of serotonin the movement will inevitably provide.
Luckily, we’ve had months to try out different, quick-hitting workouts that not only make a difference but immediately make you feel better.
1. Body Strength Workouts
Creator of Le Sweat and Le Stretch Charlee Atkins partnered with Well + Good for one of the 5-minute virtual exercise opportunities. Her energy guides you through a pilates-like workout that targets full-body strength in no time. This particular workout engages so many muscles that you can feel your body pulsating and the adrenaline pumping as soon as you stand up. Use it as a midday pick-me-up in the backyard – or the stretch of grass outside your office.
This pilates ab workout is part of a 14-day challenge that will help you jump-start your 5-minute workout obsession with targeted, fast results. XHIT’s 5 Minute Abs routine will have you complete 5 exercises for one minute each, with no recovery time between.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training
Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata conducted a study in 1996 to reveal the effects of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on oxygen health. This exercise consists of eight rounds of intense, 20-second exercises. Between each exercise is 10 seconds of rest, creating a repetitive rhythm for a 4 minute period of time. HIIT improved aerobic capacity and lung function as much as consistent moderate exercise. In fact, it showed the added benefit of increasing anaerobic capacity by as much as 28%.
While we are big fans of some of the shortened HIIT and Tabata options on exercise apps, we’ve fallen for this cardio workout that is targeted for fat loss, and this quick burner will help you burn 100 calories quickly.
If you’re looking for more muscle-building options, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists Allison Tenney is an incredible coach who posts amazing videos for targeted work and Men’s Health has a few ideal routines to incorporate multiple muscle groups for added benefits.
3. 5 minutes of Dance
As is to be expected, dance is an ideal form of movement. Not only does it allow you to focus on different muscle groups and tactfully stretch and focus on the parts of the body that need it in free form, but it is also cortisol-conscious, requires no equipment, and can be done almost anywhere. If you prefer to work with prepared choreography, here is a beginner’s toning class that you will absolutely love.
Here are some ideal contenders for 5-minute songs that will help you rock your workout, whether you’re lifting weights or doing restorative stretches.
- Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
- Blackstreet, Dr. Dre, Queen Pen – No Diggity
- The Wonder Years – And Now I’m Nothing
- Kanye West – All of The Lights
- Calvin Harris, Disciples, Chris Lake – How Deep Is Your Love (Chris Lake Remix)
- MGMT – Kids
- Skrillex – Ease My Mind
- Dermot Kennedy – After Rain
- Christina Aguilera – Dirty
4. Don’t forget to stretch
As you are probably aware, approaching any of these exercises without a few adequate stretches is probably not the best idea. Cortisol-conscious workouts are being adapted more often into routines since cortisol is one of the hormonal signals fired off throughout the day to keep your circadian rhythm working. It is important to keep this clock in balance because lack of sleep, or poor sleeping patterns, is linked to numerous physiological and mental conditions and is a known cause of productivity issues at work.
Combat that roadblock with some deep stretches. Whether you choose to add some soft stretches to the routine on either side of your 5-minute workout, or incorporate your stretches in their own five-minute interval at another point in your day or week, be sure to take care of yourself.
This is a fun pre-dance stretch we found that has made its way into our routine weekly.
5. Yoga for boosted mental health benefits
If you want to stretch, but take it a step further, work on your yoga poses. The good news with this is that you can learn a few key poses – even restorative, slow work – that you can work on in a freestyle environment for 5 minutes at a time very easily. Adriene of Yoga With Adriene has developed the ultimate 5-minute stress reducer in this yoga sequence.
Plus, you can literally do it anywhere and it has the benefits of increasing your productivity in surprising ways. I have been known to do this yoga sequence in a shredding closet at my part-time job. (In another life, at another point in my career.) Please, please, please do not miss out on her work. I have found friends and colleagues in all stages of their careers and lives that enjoy and benefit from her practice.
When you’d like clarity, peace of mind, or to help get your blood (literally) flowing, find some space along an empty wall, lay with your back on the floor and your legs flat against the wall, feet to the sky. This is called “legs up the wall” in yoga and is a slow, restorative position. It has been known to show extensive health benefits and is a basic pose that can be done for 3-5 minutes when given some private or accepting (and clean) space to work within.
Keep up with fun, (sometimes) easy, and (often) interesting exercise tips and tricks that are proven to boost productivity and help you restore balance in your life here.