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Tuesday, 15 September 2015


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The key to the benefit is the intensity of the workout. You will need to work up to a level where you're breathing heavily through your mouth for the 7 minutes. The article claims intensity of 8 out of 10......that's intense.

In the late 1950's the Royal Canadian Air Force devised the 5PBX plan, similar to the NYTimes article:

My late father tried the plan for a period however found it cut into his work day; he tended to live by a schedule.He died in early 1982 at age 62 of a stroke.
As for me, due to effects of cancer and four years of intense chemo any of those exercises would be difficult; my own physician, tells me to simply walk, about a mile or more a day, using my four wheel walker to ensure I stay upright.

This is very interesting. I have two questions:

- how many times are you supposed to pull off these 7 minutes in succession?
- what is the recommended frequency per week?


I already have a 30-45 minute routine that I do most days. It is a combination of stretching, yoga and balance exercises. Regular exercise is necessary to keep your body working properly. It was designed to move. As a result of 30 years in a sedentary job I know how much your body can stiffen up, lose agility and strength if you don't counteract it with regular exercise. As the logo says "JUST DO IT".

The fuss over talk of the devil would have left British readers feeling a little bemused. Then you have to go and mention Margaret Thatcher. ;-)

The key for people who are reasonably fit to get a benefit is do do multiple cycles of the 7 minute routine. In the original study it is based on, maximin benefit was reached at 21 minutes or 3 cycles of the 7 minute routine.

[Great, but let me master the basic one first. I have rotator cuff problems in both shoulders and I'm weak from years of doing nothing but sitting. I'll get there, I hope, but you gotta crawl before you can run. --Mike]

So that equals 23 kilo's, great! The more so as it looks like you manage to avoid the yo yo effect. (I sometimes wish Napoleon had conquered the U.K., if only for a short while, but long enough to do away with all those silly stones, lbs, ounces, guineas, pints, inches, feet, yards and miles...).

This is intriguing. Is it a daily routine, 5 days per week? I couldn't find an answer to that question in any of the articles. I know that when I added 3 30 second sprints to my usual 30 minute stationary bike routine it made quite a difference; if I can get results in 7 minutes I'm onboard. And I like the idea that there are strength exercises here, something I don't get on a bike.

Mike, congratulations on shedding 50 pounds! Last picture I saw of you, you're looking good.

A little story of my own. About 20 or so years ago (I'm 73 now) I was overweight and out of shape, perhaps partly a result of a nightmare software project. One day, for no reason that I could recall, I just went out walking, sort of the way Forrest Gump started running. Every day. Longer and longer distances, in my own suburban neighborhood of looping streets and cul-de-sacs and little parks. It was not my intention to lose weight or become more fit. I just HAD TO WALK. By the end of the summer I had shed 20 pounds, and had firmed up considerably.

Presently though, I can walk neither fast nor far. Total knee replacement scheduled for mid-October. My wife and I talked about some post-surgery plans, and the idea of walking a part of the Appalachian Trail piqued our interest. Something to look forward to.

Anyway, I recalled this walking episode when I thought of where you live now. Your part of East Lake Rd is very walkable. And what a great way to meet your new neighbors. (And carry a camera!)

It won't pack you with a notable amount of muscle, but it will help you loose fat. Especially if you combine it with intermittent fasting and do this exercises towards the end of your fasting window. That way your body has to use fat as an energy source because it has already used all the food you ate the day before.
If/when you can manage two circuits or if/when you can add a couple of minutes of rope skipping at the end of that 7 minutes you are golden.

Regarding exercise, down here (down-under) the saying is, "Use it, or lose it".

Sincerest regards, JR

Mike, I looked into this workout a while ago and that led me to the FitStar app which, in turn led me to the FitStar yoga app. (note I have no connection to the company). I have to say I've been very impressed with the FitStar yoga app. Just thought I would mention it as someone who has struggled mightily to get into a regular exercise habit.

Having read this I think I will look into the 7 minute workout again. I didn't actually start it the first time.

If I saw the Camera Nein link on Facebook, I would like it ...

My problem with the New York Times workout is that seven minutes is too long. I devised my own workout which takes less time, and furthermore, you can pretty much jam it in anytime (I do it when I take a short break from writing) and you don't actually sweat, so you don't have to change clothes, or, in fact, do any preparation at all. It's this:

You need a chair and two dumbbells. (I'm 71, and I use only 15-pounders.) You stand in front of the chair, a dumbbell in each hand, then you sit (squat) until your butt hits the chair, but you don't sit, you just touch. (The chair is there in case you topple over.) Then you stand, do a curl with the dumbbells, press them overhead, bring them down one at a time, then uncurl them back up to the top (this hits your triceps), bring them down, do a slow uncurl, then squat again. A trainer at a club told me I should do these no more than three or four times a week, which is fine with me. If you can do fifty of these (with an appropriate weight for your age) you can ski moguls.

I also do a little yoga in the morning, before I clean up, and I've always been a walker, which I don't count as exercise, even though it is.

This sounds interesting. I may try to add a few sessions per week to go along with my trail running and mountain biking. Both of those are good exercise but have limitations that the 7-minute program might address.

As always, I enjoy your OT topics. Keep them coming!

Like Bryce Lee's Dad, I did the Royal Canadian Air Force 5BX 11 minute daily exercise plan, off and on, mostly in the winter, in my late teenage years. A number of friends did it too, at that young age.

It worked very well-for strength, stamina, speed and "puff", as my cohort referred to aerobic fitness back in the 1960s.

This plan is reminiscent of it.

But I doubt that my joints and ligaments could put with such intensive, fast burst, exercise plans anymore, Surely, in a year's worth of exercising, at some point, something will give way?

Part of that old RCAF 5BX/XBX (for women) plan has been somewhat discredited for putting strain on the lower back but you can still find it referenced online, and with modifications for safety too.



That is a great looking workout. You will work up to doing more reps quickly. The body responds to exercise faster then the brain. I would like to reinforce John's advice to join an organized activity (mine is a spin class three days a week, but start with one of whatever appeals to you) The camaraderie, and the resultant guilt at not going make a pleasant break from working out alone.

Middle and high schools spend so much money on sports fields, courts, equipment, coaches, PE teachers, etc yet so few of us actually do sports and the older we get the less we do. Better to save tons of dosh and teach everyone to jump rope for cardiac conditioning, use simple resistance bands for strength building and tai chi for control and balance, things which all of us can do at any age for minimal investment. 30 minutes of good cardio a day, the more days the better. 30 minutes of strength exercise 2-3 times a week. Lots of substitutes for each of these 3 (rowing is great). We'd all be healthier saving vast amounts of money on health care.

The more I read on this topic the more I am struck how often exercise is cited as the best medicine over pills and surgery. Want to avoid heart disease? Exercise. Feel stressed? Exercise. Have painful osteoarthritis? Exercise. Etc

Especially for dog owners:

You can choose between the 4-Wheel Workout, the 3-Wheel Workout, or the 2-Wheel Workout.

Your dogs may become a bit lazy, but you will be an olympian.

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