Can you really get fit in 5 minutes?

Fit in 5 minutes

Is it really possible to get fit with five minutes of exercise a day, as various fitness gurus claim? We asked three top exercise physiologists.

KKeegan Smitheegan Smith

Former trainer of the Sydney Roosters, Keegan is a performance coach who runs his own fitness performance centre near Byron Bay.

“Every 5 minutes counts. Even one minute of work can destroy you, maybe for days! Don’t believe me? Squat max reps at 50 percent bodyweight and send me a picture of your legs the next day.

“But can you reach, or even approach, your physical potential in five minutes? No. It’s going to take more time to get the mobility, skill and strength that you’re capable of. Once you get a taste for getting better, the world’s number one drug, five minutes will never be enough!”

Tony Boutagy

An associate lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast with a PhD in Sports Science, Tony is one of Australia’s foremost experts on strength and conditioning.

“The benefits of exercise are numerous, spreading across several systems in the body. Some systems require an emphasis on training volume (more time), but some don’t appear (at least initially) to need a lot of time involvement to deliver appreciable health benefits, providing that the intensity of exercise is sufficiently high. For example, a study from Professor Marty Gibala’s lab in Canada recently demonstrated that three minutes of ‘all-out’ exercise per week on a stationary bike improved muscle metabolism and heart health.

“Five minutes is on the low side for most people to gain long term benefits in muscle strength, size and bone mass. But with a bit of practice, the cardiovascular system and muscle metabolism can be improved in short exercise sessions. Given lack of time is the most cited reason as a barrier for people exercising, finding time-efficient ways to exercise is of paramount importance for anyone. And interval training is one such exercise solution to the lack-of-time problem.”

Katie LyndonKatie Lyndon

An accredited exercise physiologist, Katie is from Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA).

“It’s important to remember that something is better than nothing — even if it’s only 5-10 minutes. Research shows us that physical activity can significantly reduce our risk of many chronic health diseases, such as diabetes, mental illness, heart disease and some cancers. However, there is a dose-response benefit, whereby more physical activity and exercise incorporated into your day can achieve greater health benefits.

“Ideally, we should all be aiming for at least 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity each week. Increasing the duration of your workout will more effectively improve your cardiovascular fitness, and is considered essential if you’re training for an endurance event.”