Every day in my practice, my patients tell me they do not have time to exercise. Believe me, I understand this well. Modern life is busy! I too have a consuming job and young kids at home so I know how precious spare time can be.
My 5 Minute Kitchen Workout is something I actually started designing when I was a young kid. While my dinner was being warmed up, I would hit the deck and do press ups and sit ups until my food was ready!
What I’ve discovered as an adult is that the kitchen can be a very productive place to exercise. Just think how often you find yourself in the kitchen throughout the day… waiting for something to boil or for the oven timer to go off. Instead of automatically reaching for your smartphone or the TV remote, why not use the time effectively?
This is a very simple bodyweight workout that can be squeezed into five minutes:
1. 5 – 10 bodyweight squats. Whether your goal is to get stronger, tone up or lose weight, squats are one of the fastest ways to get there. They target every muscle in your body and do wonders at increasing flexibility. You’ll want to stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips with your toes pointed slightly out, keep your back straight and squat down as far as you feel comfortable. Aim to do about 5 – 10 each time. The key is to start small and build up.
2. 5 – 10 calf raises. This exercise targets your calf muscles but works your entire body as you are using your whole body weight. You can do this on the kitchen floor or, even better, on the edge of a step. Lift as high as you can onto your toes and then lower your heels down as much as your ankles will allow. Try and push evenly through the entire width of your foot – you can hold onto the wall if you’re having trouble balancing. As a bonus, if you have stairs in your house, you could also add in 10 step ups on each leg at the base of your stairs.
3. 5 – 10 press ups. An incredibly effective strength building exercise, press ups (or push ups) work both your chest and arm muscles. Place your hands approximately shoulder width apart and lower your chest down between them before pushing back up again. Start against a wall then, as you get stronger, against a kitchen worktop. Eventually you will be able to do them on the floor.
4. 5 – 10 tricep dips. A fantastic way to really target the back of your arms, tricep dips can be done against the kitchen worktop or a stable kitchen chair. Position your hands shoulder-width apart on your chair or kitchen bench and move your bottom off the bench, extending your legs in front of you. Lower your body as low as you can go and then push back up until your arms are straight (try and keep a little bend in the elbows to keep your joints happy).
5. 5 – 10 bodyweight lunges on each leg. Another excellent bodyweight exercise that works your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and core muscles. Try and keep your back straight as you go through the movement. Hold on for support as required. As you become stronger, you can add in a side rotation or lift bottles of olive oil above your head!
Remember, the exercises above are just a guide, feel free to adapt this to suit your own needs and your own kitchen environment.
Doing strength or bodyweight training before meals has been proven to improve blood sugar control and improve muscle sensitivity to insulin – something we could all do with these days.
You may feel silly starting this but why not challenge everyone in the family to do this 5 minute kitchen workout before breakfast or dinner every day? I try and do this with my kids before each meal (and my mother does a version of this in her own kitchen!) If you engage the whole family, it is more likely to be fun and you are more likely to stick to it long term!
There are more videos showcasing exercises that can be done in the comfort of your home here.
— Dr Chatterjee