Skips Run

Living Well – Five exercises for fitness and health

Wayne Little's monthly column on fitness and motivation.

In today’s busy world, some of us have trouble finding time for fitness to extend our life and quality of life. With kids, world, school, volunteering, or just simply relaxing – I’ll admit, some days it’s tough.

I did a quick search on Google and looked up what workouts you should do everyday if you only had 5 or 10 minutes per day to workout. These can be done first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, at night before bed, anytime you can squeeze them in.

It was funny how all the Google searches basically showed the same exercises in the search, it didn’t matter if you were a runner, a bodybuilder, or just someone looking for a simple set of exercises. It is also funny how I already use the same workout in my weekly core workout, although I add some variations.

These are the five simple exercises that should be done by everyone every day, they can be done anywhere with no equipment needed.

1. Squat – this can be done with or without weights, great for people with lower back pain. Strengthens the lower back, hips, legs and core;

2. Push up – awesome for chest, shoulders and arms;

3. Plank – the plank is the number one core exercise, in the old days it was the sit up, which is actually taboo now as it is hard on your lower back if not done correctly;

4. Bird dog – This is when you go on your hands and knees, lifting your left arm straight out in front of you, while lifting your right leg straight back. Hold for a few seconds. Then you alternate. Great for core, and for all the little stability muscles to keep you balanced.

5. The Bridge – This exercise works your core, hips and glutes (butt). You lay on your back and bring your feet up under your knees, push your hips into the air as high as you can go, then hold for a few seconds.

I guarantee if you exercise with these once per day, you will notice a difference. Do each one until you can do any more, for instance, do five pushups today, then try for six tomorrow. Time yourself and see how long it actually takes. Watching an episode of Jeopardy takes half an hour. I bet you can do one complete cycle in the time it takes for the commercial breaks. Three of them you can do while watching Big Bang Theory.

As you get used to or bored with these five exercises, there are many variations of each exercise, that can be more challenging. Like squats with some weight, pushups with your feet on the bench, plank with one foot on top of the other, active bird dog, or a single leg bridge.

Wayne Little

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