Can You Get Fit in 7 Minutes a Week?


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Can you get fit in a minute or so a day, or seven to ten minutes a week?

The short answer, I would argue, is yes. And it involves no supplements, power shakes, club dues, or exercise equipment.

My colleague Jackson Baker says former President Bill Clinton was the master of the meet and greet. You only got 30 seconds or so, but it was a good 30 seconds, and you got the feeling it was all about you.

It's not the length of the experience, it's the quality.

It supposedly takes 21 to 30 days to make a habit. If you pick an exercise you can do in one minute — 20 push-ups, 25 sit-ups, 40 lunges, climbing five flights of stairs — and do it every day for 30 days, you're on the road to fitness, just like the comic book ads about 98-pound weaklings promised. The trick is to do something that involves no machines (a cash for barely used clunker stairmasters, nautilus, universal gyms and rowing machines would break the Treasury), no money, no partners, no driving, and is not dependent on the weather. That way there are no excuses. Just you and your muscles and your will power.

It's harder than it sounds. To do any good, the exercise has to leave you winded and your heart pumping. Part of you has to want to skip it. I've done pushups for 30 years. I add one a year so I can do my age on a good day, close to it on a bad day. To play mind games, I've counted them by ones, twos, tens, and backwards. It's a way to measure and maintain fitness and self-discipline and keep your man boobs from reaching B-cup size. I've done them in hundreds of motel rooms, friends' houses, cabins, foreign countries, and gyms. One minute out of 1,440 minutes in a day. Pretty wimpy. But that's 365 minutes a year, times 30 years.

But it's a really good minute.

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