Seven minutes. It isn’t a very long time (though apparently if you are a teenager in a closet it’s all you need.) But it is also the perfect amount of time for an effective workout, according to science.
The 7-minute workout was first written about in 2013 in the American College of Sport Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal and then the media was all over it. After all, it touted real results including weight loss, higher endurance and stronger cardiovascular and muscular fitness. And let’s not forget, it only takes seven minutes!
Of course, the appeal of the time length of the workout was quite appealing when we were all on-the-move, busy people and only had seven minutes to spare. Now we perhaps have a bit more time but when working from home and trying to be productive a quick burst of energy is the perfect antidote to sitting all day and/or trying to wrangle children into playing the quiet game for the 25th time.
What is the 7-minute workout?
The 7-minute workout consists of 12 high-intensity exercises (HIIT) where the person is only using their body weight as resistance. Like any HIIT workout, you will be alternating between 30-second to one-minute bursts of maximum energy (85% or more exertion level so you are basically working to the point where you want to die) followed by a brief 10-second rest period. The main appeal is that you are getting the same or close to the benefits of a longer workout but in a condensed amount of time. Heather Tyler, an NSCA-certified personal trainer and owner of Simply Fit LA told USA Today it should feel like, “You know that feeling like you’ve run up five flights of stairs, your heart’s pounding in your ears, you’re dripping sweat and you sound like a donkey wheezing?”
Some of these benefits besides weight loss and fat reduction include helping those who are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. When you do a micro-HIIT workout it cleans out your damaged cells and helps to regenerate newer, healthier ones. So this 7-minute workout could actually be adding years to your life.
Plus research shows micro-HIIT workouts is associated with the reduction of neurodegenerative diseases and the treatment of cancer.
These workouts can be a combination of several different moves or you can focus on one but here are a few classics for the 7-minute workout:
You basically want to perform as many reps of these workouts in 30 seconds (to a minute) with five to 10 seconds of rest in between.
Plus, you can do these workouts anywhere (though you may want to move some furniture out of the way.) In your home office, while you are waiting for water to boil, or in your yard.
But remember, if you are doing these workouts right (and daily repetition is the key), you should not be feeling good (when you are doing them that is) and immediately after. Wendy Wood, a professor of psychology and business at the University of Southern California, told LiveScience, “The trick with this — or any other exercise program — is to make it habitual … an unthinking part of your daily routine,” she said. “Once habits form, then the discomfort becomes relatively unimportant.”
Be sure to try one of the workouts using this video.