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Commit to 7 minutes of strength training

Athletic weight belts at a gym. Social distancing, no showers initially, pods around classes and exercise machines and u
Athletic weight belts at a gym. Social distancing, no showers initially, pods around classes and exercise machines and ubiquitous bottles of sanitizers and disinfectants are among the features of fitness clubs during the coronavirus pandemic. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Last week I talked about the benefits of strength training. Committing to a strength training program can positively impact heart health, prevent injury as one ages and has the ability to improve overall health and well-being.

Since many of us are now exercising at home, I would like to share a high-intensity circuit training workout — no exercise equipment required. This method of training involves combining cardio and resistance training in the same workout, alternating between upper and lower body movements as well as high intensity and lower intensity exercises.

This total body workout is called “The Scientific Seven Minute Workout.” This quick and effective workout is published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal and can be downloaded as an app on your smartphone or found on the website 7-min.com.

I love that you can get a total body workout in less than 10 minutes. Exercise is one of the best things to do when feeling stressed or overwhelmed, but unfortunately, exercise is often the first thing skipped when we are stressed or short on time. I have a good friend who has been doing the 7-minute workout for the past two weeks, and she tells me that she loves the way it makes her feel. Her confidence is up, her energy has increased and she is able to fit it in her busy schedule. The plan is all laid out for you. Your job is to find seven minutes to do it.

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds. Rest 10 seconds. Continue to the next exercise. You can complete both circuits once for a seven-minute sweat session, or repeat one circuit twice and rotate days. This exercise plan requires high-intensity effort. Talk to your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine. Check the website for proper form. Modifications are noted in parentheses.

Circuit one

• Jumping jacks (heel jacks)

• Step-ups on sturdy chair (or use first step of stairs)

• Push-ups to side plank (push-ups against the wall or from knees)

• Hold a wall sit against wall (hold for 10 seconds then rest)

• Hold a plank position (plank on knees)

• Squats (use chair to sit and then stand)

Circuit Two

• High knees running in place (marching in place)

• Push-ups (push-ups on wall or from knees)

• Lunges, alternating legs (hold on to chair and don’t go down as far)

• Abdominal crunches

• Triceps dips on chair with legs extended (keep knees bent)

• Side plank — switch sides after 15 seconds (regular plank)

You will notice that rest is limited between sets, this is purposefully designed so “recovery” is never fully achieved. Your heart rate will continue to stay high during the workout, which can elicit major aerobic and metabolic benefits. Research has found that these metabolic benefits can be present for up to 72 hours after completing a high-intensity exercise. Wow! Give it a shot. This workout always surprises me.

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Kylie Alger is a certified wellness coach and co-owner of the Well-Woman: Body, Mind & Spirit. Comments: kylie@thewellwoman.org

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