The way Gretchen Reynolds kicked off her recent New York Times article made me jump for joy – then jump into my jog togs:
Running for as little as five minutes a day could significantly lower a person’s risk of dying prematurely, according to a large-scale new study of exercise and mortality. The findings suggest that the benefits of even small amounts of vigorous exercise may be much greater than experts had assumed.”
My happiness stemmed not from the realization that I could cut my normal run from 60 minutes to five. Since a midlife crisis got me running again at age 50 – a mirror was involved – I’ve come to treasure the benefits of the pursuit: I sleep better, eat less (and more healthfully), and feel happier, calmer and more focused. I’m more inclined to take care of myself. And as a budget-conscious fashion-and-beauty writer, I love the way a hard run can flush my cheeks like no store-bought blush.
No, what made my heart swell after reading that piece was the idea that throngs of people who never exercised before may now be motivated to – especially once they weigh the enticing prospect of extending their life spans by carving just five minutes from their busy days.
According to a coauthor of the new study:
Most people can fit in five minutes a day of running, no matter how busy they are, and the benefits in terms of mortality are remarkable.”
Based on this new research, an easily manageable fitness regimen might look something like this:
- Walk briskly for five minutes, then run for another five; walk to cool down for a final five minutes. (For a short video on injury-free running after 50, click here.)
- Once your body has warmed up, do these three essential exercises to tone and strengthen every part of it: squats, pushups and the plank.
Best part? You can complete this workout in under 30 minutes – and without going anywhere near a trainer, a gym or an ATM! But whether you make it five minutes or 50, the key is to move your body Every. Single. Day.
To see the program in action, watch this:
For more tips on living your best life, look inside The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More, and subscribe to The Best of Everything After 50 video series on AARP’s YouTube Channel.
Photos: Wikipedia; courtesy of the author