A lack of time, whether it’s due to work or other commitments, is a major obstacle to fitness.

However, with several reports focusing on the benefits of short spurts of exercise, you may have just run out of excuses.

A July 2014 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that just five minutes of running could significantly lower the risk of dying prematurely. Further-more, the study revealed that the health benefits for runners were the same, no matter how much or how little they ran.

In another study, Dr James Levine, a researcher from the Mayo Clinic in the United States, found that walking around the office for two minutes three times an hour can be more beneficial than spending an hour at the gym, especially in terms of reversing the devastating health effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

Is five minutes of exercise enough?

This actually depends on your goals. Do you want to exercise for health benefits, to lose weight or to lower your blood pressure?

If you are looking at exercising five minutes a day, then you are most likely not training for a marathon, but interested in making exercise a habit.

According to Timothy Church, co-author of the 2014 study, you score heart-health perks simply by moving, even if it’s just for five minutes.

Incorporate at least five minutes of activity a few times a day into your routine, whether it’s walking up the stairs to your office or walking from your home to a nearby shop.

You can slowly increase your workout time as you get more energised.

The benefits of short bursts of exercise

Better memory and thinking – Studies show that exercise helps the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent memory loss as you age.

More self-esteem – When regular activity becomes a habit, it can make you feel generally better about yourself.

Healthier sleep – Short bursts of activity during the day can help you to sleep better.

If exercising at night, try something gentler like stretching or yoga.

More energy – Exercising regularly energises you, even if it’s just five minutes of activity a few times a day. Increase your workout as you go along.

Higher resilience – Regular exercise helps boost your immunity and reduces the impact of stress.

Types of five-minute exercises

Running – Even five minutes a day of running has been shown to lower your cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and the amount of fat in your bloodstream.

Walking – Walking for five minutes a few times a day helps to boost your metabolism.

Burpees – A body-weight exercise that can be executed in minimal space, burpees are a great conditioning and cardio exercise that engages your whole body.

If done properly, it will help your endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power and speed.

Reverse planks – Good for core body workouts, reverse planks target muscular strength, power, stability and endurance.

Sun salutations – This famous yoga move gets your heart rate up, sculpts muscles and stretches your entire body.

Jumping rope – Jumping rope makes for a good cardio workout.

The important thing to remember is to enjoy what you are doing. You can stick to what you like or mix things up for more variety.

After all, what is five minutes a few times a day if it adds more healthy years to your life?

Fit For Life KL 2017 info box

FitForLife KL 2017, with the theme “Get Fit. Live Great!” aims to inspire Malaysians to lead a healthy lifestyle by being physically and mentally fit. FitForLife KL 2017 is organised by Star Media Group Berhad with Great Eastern Life as exclusive event partner.

Nestlé Omega Plus is the official wellness sponsor.

The fair will be held in Halls 1 to 3 of the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre from April 21 to 23. It is open from 10am to 7pm and admission is free. For enquiries, call 03-79671388 (ext 1529/1243/1466) or visit us www.facebook.com/starhealthfair