In Only Five Minutes
Special note: much of my fitness routine (as detailed below) is informed by the book, "The One-Minute Workout: Science Shows a Way to Get Fit That's Smarter, Faster, Shorter," by Martin Gibala.
The fitness battles between Now and Next
The issue of keeping to a regular exercise routine is one of the most common and persistent battles between Now and Next. The CDC says that 80% of Americans don’t get enough effective exercise.
How can Now and Next both be happy?
The solution to creating peace and partnership between Now and Next is to create a way for both of them to be happy regarding exercise. Especially important is to ensure that Now is happy. Being persistent is a slam dunk when Now is enjoying the process.
How can your Now and Next both be happy?
A fitness routine that is suitable for you is likely to be different than a routine that will work for your neighbor.
Learn from what I've done
As I share with you my exercise program, ask yourself what you can learn or adapt from what is working for me.
At 76, why am I in such great shape?
As I am writing this, I will be 77 years on July 18, 2021. Yet I’m in better shape than anyone I personally know about (except for one person) in my age bracket (and I know a lot of people). A part of this fitness is a result of good nutrition, as well as other aspects of my lifestyle and life attitude. Nevertheless, a significant part of my fitness is affected by the physical activities that are integral to my life.
An arm-wrestling champion with a young studs
I have no joint pains, no back pains, in general, “no pains.” I can stand up for three hours, pacing around continuously, leading a workshop with a hundred participants, feeling more energy at the end than at the beginning. My young friends are in awe of the way I bound up the flight of stairs in my home. Just for fun, I often challenge young Chinese men who attend my life-coaching workshops (who say they workout at the gym), to an arm-wrestling match. I beat them about 90% of time.
What do I do to keep in shape?
Let me tell you the three types of “exercise” that I do.
Standing, pacing, and walking
First, I minimize sitting down. I have a stand-up desk. Also, with my hands-free, Bluetooth headset, in the three-four hours I am talking with clients most days, I am pacing around my office as I converse with my clients (in stocking feet or winter slippers; I don’t wear shoes in my house). Moreover, I sometimes take a 45-minute walk around my neighborhood.
My lazy-man exercise machine
Secondly, while I am standing and working at my desk, my “whole body vibration platform” (check this on Google or Amazon) is quickly (several times per second) jiggling my left and right feet up and down. I keep the machine running for well over an hour each day, while I am doing computer work. In response to the vibrations, many muscles, especially in my lower body, are making micro-adjustments to maintain my balance and stability. I call this “the lazy-man’s exercise.” Many scientific studies have documented the effectiveness of this form of exercise.
Super intensity for nine minutes a week
(it used to be nine minutes; now it's down to three; see updates below)
Thirdly, I exercise at full intensity for nine minutes each week. I developed this part of my exercise routine after reading “The One-Minute Workout: Science Shows a Way to Get Fit That's Smarter, Faster, Shorter,” by Martin Gibala. Gibala cites many scientific studies proving that high-intensity, sprint-like exercise is dramatically more efficient for general physical fitness than moderately intense exercise of much longer duration.
Save the baby from the fire
On Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays, for 20 seconds I run-in-place on my Bellicon rebounder, lifting my knees as high as I can, with my legs moving as if I am running to save a baby from a fire. It’s super intense and I am quite winded by the end of the 20 seconds. I do this three separate times throughout each day, for a total of one minute for each of these three days. I count off the 20 seconds using a large-display LCD digital clock (which displays hours, minutes, and seconds), positioned across the room. My rebounder sits in the room next to my office, taking me only 12 steps to reach it from my stand-up desk. This type of exercise counts as aerobic.
Higher, higher, higher!
On Tuesdays/Thursdays, (after a warm-up of 10-15 bounces), I bounce as high as I can (while still maintaining my balance) for 60 times. The 60 bounces takes a tad under 60 seconds. So, including the warm-up, it takes around a minute. Taking a minute out to do this three times a day, I get a total of three minutes rebounding exercise each of these two days.
Pushing 2 to 3 G's 60 times a minute
Rebounding has been certified (by NASA no less) as the most efficient exercise known. One reason for this is that rebounding pulls and releases every muscle cell in your body at the same time. Every cell goes from a zero G-force (at the top of your bounce) to a two-three G-force (at the bottom of your bounce) sixty times a minute.
Perky breasts prove the point
Although I had known this fact for a long time, I didn’t have a dramatic demonstration of this until a (now former) girlfriend was living with me (name withheld). Although I loved her, this girlfriend had the saggiest, most pendulous breasts I had ever come face to face with. When she first moved in, she started using the rebounder I had in my office room. Within a month, neither of us could recognize her breasts; they could have won a perkiness contest. This type of exercise counts as resistance exercise (like weight lifting).
This 20-year-old man is an amateur boxer at his university in Chongqing (he was an Airbnb guest).
I was somewhere between beating him and tying in our arm-wrestling contest.
Whirling Dervishes: something new (as of April, 2020)
I do these fun "kid exercises" to create great balance (once a day Monday-Friday minimum of five times each way)
Super-intense cycling, along with sit-ups, replaces my rebounding (as of November, 2020)
For various reasons, I have decided to replace my rebounding with intense cycling, even though I still highly recommend rebounding. Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays I cycle intensely on this stationery bicycle for 20 seconds, three times each day. Scientific studies have proven that this one-minute workout, three times a week will keep you in as good a shape as 150 minutes a week of standard, moderate exercise. This accounts for three minutes a week of high-intensity exercise.
Here's the big-display digital clock that I watch while running in place as fast as I can for 20 seconds.
Ten high-intensity sit-ups three times each day, Tuesdays and Thursdays
Each set of ten high-intensity sit-ups takes about 20 seconds. So that's one minute on Tuesdays and one minute on Thursdays.
A nice neat, easy-to-do set of routines
To summarize, my regular physical activities include non-strenuous standing (with my stand-up desk), along with pacing around while talking on the phone with my clients (about three-four hours most days). It also includes my occasional walk around a big block in my neighborhood. Secondly, I use my whole body vibration platform for over an hour each day, while working at my stand-up desk. Finally, my only non-current, high-intensity exercise of super-intense cycling on my stationery bicycle (which is low-impact) along with the two minutes of sit-ups. Bottom line: I only do five minutes a week of non-concurrent, high-intensity dedicated exercise (staying fit in 5 minutes a week).
NNI for keeping fit
I have developed this total exercise program by consulting with both Dwight-Now and Dwight-Next.
Dwight-Next is happy
Dwight-Next is quite happy because, indeed, I am keeping in great shape. He is also happy because it’s very time efficient, with the dedicated portion using only three minutes a week, while the other exercise activities are done concurrently with other important and interesting things.
Dwight-Now is happy
Dwight-Now is happy because he enjoys (or doesn’t even notice) the processes of walking, pacing around, and standing up at his desk. Using the whole body vibration platform has come to feel like a gentle massage of his body, which pleases Dwight-Now. And for the dedicated three minutes a week, each of the 9 intervals is quite short (20 seconds). That is no big deal for Dwight-Now: he’s happy to do it for Dwight-Next.
Create your partnership between Now and Next
What about you? Maybe you can adapt or modify my approach so that your Now and Next are both satisfied. Wouldn’t it be great to know that you’re doing what you need to do to keep fit and, at the same time, it’s a piece of cake for your Now!?