Can a 5-minute workout keep you fit during quarantine?

Working out at a high intensity but for a short period of time could offer an effective at-home total body workout. (Rawpixel pic)

ONTARIO: If you’re struggling to stay fit during the Covid-19 confinement then you might want to try a new short workout designed by a Canadian researcher, which he says will challenge the whole body in just five minutes.

Dr Brendon Gurd at the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University in Ontario has previously investigated how to effectively work out using whole body interval training in small spaces such as submarines.

His research now lends itself well to working out during the current lockdowns, when many of us are finding ourselves short of space for exercise and with minimal or no equipment.

Using the principles of high-intensity interval training, more commonly known as HIIT, and Tabata, which incorporate exercises that are performed in high-energy bursts for a short period of time to work major muscle groups, Dr Gurd has developed a routine that can be completed in just five minutes, with no equipment, and you don’t need much more room than the space on your mat.

“Among the most commonly cited barriers to being physically active in most populations are time and access to equipment,” says Dr Gurd.

“Our research studies demonstrate that whole-body interval training improves aerobic fitness similar to traditional endurance training (such as running on a treadmill for 30 minutes), but provides the additional benefit of improving some strength and muscle endurance outcomes.”

“Physical fitness is an important determinant of health and disease risk,” explains Dr Gurd. “Remaining active and fit are two things that we can control.

Maintaining some control in our lives through regular exercise, in addition to the direct benefits of exercise on our mental and physical health, may help us to cope with the stress associated with the current environment.”

Even better, the five-minute workout is suitable for the whole family to do together while living in lockdown, with Dr Gurd enlisting the help of his kids for a short video to show us the moves.

You can follow along with the video on YouTube, or as most of the movements are ones we’re already familiar with, just follow the following instructions: eight 20-second intervals of jumping jacks with a ten-second rest between each interval, followed by eight 20-second intervals of push-ups with a ten-second rest between each interval, then the same format for hockey stances, followed by planks.

Then for a whole body cool down, finish with another eight 20-second set of jumping jacks.

Dr Gurd says that a total workout can be completed in under five minutes, and you should see results fairly quickly — previous findings have shown that doing the short workout just four days a week for four weeks is enough to improve muscle endurance.