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Get Fit in 5 Minutes a Day with the Ultimate Body Weight Exercise

Get Fit in 5 Minutes a Day with the Ultimate Body Weight Exercise

How long is your list of excuses for not working out? I’m pretty sure I have used them all but give it a shot—surprise me!  People get very creative with excuses and sometimes an excuse become a mantra to rationalize to yourself why not to work out, with expressions ranging from “I don’t have the time” to ” I don’t have the equipment”. However, there’s one fantastic exercise that wins over these two excuses (and most others), leaving you with only your weak character left to overcome.

Body Weight Exercise

    It’s a great conditioning exercise that engages your entire body; it builds strength, and you can adjust the intensity from a light mobility exercise to making you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck. All this after only 5 min of exercise, without equipment and in just 20 square feet of space. Moreover, this particular exercise is engaging at least 5 of the 10 skills of fitness. It will work your cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, and speed, depending a bit on how you perform the exercise.

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    The ultimate exercise is…

    This fantastic exercise is called “the burpee” and it’s a simple, not easy, body weight exercise that you can perform in minimal space.

    It’s essentially an exercise combing the Hindu squat, the push-up and a vertical jump.

    1. Stand straight, with your feet in a neutral stance.
    2. Squat down to and place your hands approximately one foot in front of your feet, slightly wider than shoulder width.
    3. With your weight on straight, vertical arms, jump back with both feet into plank position (same as the top position of the push-up).
    4. Perform a push-up with your chest touching ground in the bottom position, and up to plank position again.
    5. From plank position, jump forward with both feet, raise your upper body and land in the bottom of the squat.
    6. Jump straight up from the bottom of the squat, raise your arms and clap your hands over head. Landing back in position 1.
    7. Repeat.

    Sounds easy? Don’t let the simplicity fool you. I’ve seen Ironman distance triathletes (some people consider triathletes fit) and competitive boxers totally crumble under the mighty burpee. If you think you’re fit I am pretty sure that the first 10 will make you cocky, but at around 25 you’re surprised how tough it is.

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    Check out the video instructions to help you get burpeein’!

    Beginners

    Complete beginners must first learn to perform a correct Hindu squat, after which you can work yourself up to 10 repetitions of each component of the burpee in isolation: that’s 10 Hindu squats, followed by 10 push-ups, and finally 10 vertical jumps—hands from floor to overhead clap. When you feel comfortable with the Hindu squat and can perform these 30 repetitions uninterrupted, it’s time to burpee.

    Start with 10 burpees uninterrupted, and work yourself up 25 in a nice steady flow—don’t think about time.

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    Beginner variations

    The most common limitation to the burpee is that people can’t keep up with the push-ups, so instead of giving up early, I suggest that you do push-ups with your knees on the ground. If needed, you can even start without the push-up: just jump out to plank position and back (skip step 4 above).

    Beyond beginner: 5-minute burpee flow

    When you have worked passed the beginner stage above, it’s time to increase the volume and/or work faster. To improve, you must measure time, so use a stopwatch. Set your countdown timer to 5 minutes, and do as many burpees as you can. As you keep to the 5 minutes, it’s easy to keep track of your progress and stay motivated. Always make sure to keep good form though: you want to improve because of increased work capacity— not sloppier, potentially unsafe, form.

    When you can do 5 minutes uninterrupted, I suggest you test yourself on 100 of these to get an idea of your time: the world fitness elite does 100 burpees in around 4 minutes, but get below 8 minutes and you can be proud.

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    In addition to it being a great exercise while traveling, I use 100 burpees for time as a benchmark for my own fitness level. My personal record is 100 repetitions in 7 min, and when I get over 8 min it feels like slap in the face, letting me know that it’s time to get serious with training again. Honestly, now that the December holidays have passed, it’s burpee time!

    Let me know how it goes! Which Lifehack reader can do the most burpees in 5 min?

    Featured photo credit:  Running Sport. Runners on road in endurance run outdoors via Shutterstock

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    Last Updated on March 25, 2020

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

    So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

    1. Exercise

    It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

    2. Drink in Moderation

    I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

    3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

    Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

    4. Watch Less Television

    A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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    Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

    5. Eat Less Red Meat

    Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

    If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

    6. Don’t Smoke

    This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

    7. Socialize

    Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

    8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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    9. Be Optimistic

    Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

    10. Own a Pet

    Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

    11. Drink Coffee

    Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

    12. Eat Less

    Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

    13. Meditate

    Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

    Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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    How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

    14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

    Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

    15. Laugh Often

    Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

    16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

    Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

    17. Cook Your Own Food

    When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

    Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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    18. Eat Mushrooms

    Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

    19. Floss

    Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

    20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

    Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

    Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

    21. Have Sex

    Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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    Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

    Reference

    [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
    [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
    [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
    [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
    [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
    [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
    [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
    [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
    [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
    [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
    [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
    [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
    [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
    [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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