THE BLOG
09/02/2015 05:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

7 Unexpected Benefits of Minimal Daily Exercise

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Okay, look, I'm the Lazy Motivator... Do you think I go to the gym or run five times a week? You have got to be kidding me. Who has time to go to the gym? And, hello?! I HATE running!

But, I have found a way to get exercise every single day -- and I feel great because of it. You can do it, too, because it only takes three minutes a day. Even you have three minutes. Don't pretend you don't. You know you do...

For 20 years my exercise routine was non-existent. Weeks, sometimes months would go by between small bursts of exercise. I had a lot of good intentions, but little follow-through. I did a lot of sports in my youth and have good genes, but last year I started to think, "Girl, you are in your 40s... You better start looking after yourself!"

Knowing my lack of time and hatred of running, I thought I would approach exercise with my Lazy Motivator philosophy (that a little bit of effort applied daily is better than huge effort applied sporadically). So I gave myself a mini workout routine that I could do every day. Sit ups, push ups and a plank. Every morning. Three minutes. No excuses!

Since January I have been doing 30 sculling sit-ups (check out 7-Minute Workout Instructor Wesley Virgin's highly entertaining demonstration here), 30 push-ups (the girly kind) and a 30-second plank almost every morning. The benefits have far exceeded my expectations. I expected to have more energy and feel stronger, which I definitely do, but I have gained so much more than that.

Here are some of the unexpected benefits I have discovered from just a few minutes of exercise every morning:

1) A sense of calm and confidence... Starting the day with an activity that is universally accepted as beneficial makes me feel like I am in control of my life and doing the right thing. It is incredibly empowering.

2) A desire to exercise more. Once I get started with a few minutes of exercise, I often do more exercises and throw in some stretching and weight-training with a couple dumbbells. I am also more likely to go for a walk or play a sport when I am already in that zone of exercising. But, even if all I do is the three minutes, at least I know I have done something!)

3) Acquiring the belief that I can achieve what I want in life (being strong and healthy) in an easy, almost effortless way. This belief then translates to other areas of my life, too, from keeping the house tidy to maintaining relationships...

4) Getting out of my head and into my body. Being body aware means that I have less monkey mind chatter, am more present and am more likely to use my body well and less likely to injure myself.

5) Getting into a mindset of being strong and healthy which creates a healthy belief system and sets me up for making healthy choices throughout the day.

6) Gaining a feeling that I can stick with something for longer than a few weeks or months... hopefully creating a lifelong habit.

7) Starting to believe that anything is possible!

I think it is important that my few minutes of exercise are calisthenics, a form of strength training... Taken from Havard University's School of Public Health Website:

Strength training, also known as resistance training, weight training, or muscle-strengthening activity, is one of the most beneficial components of a fitness program.

Studies have shown strength training to increase lean body mass, decrease fat mass, and increase resting metabolic rate (a measurement of the amount of calories burned per day) in adults. While strength training on its own typically does not lead to weight loss, its beneficial effects on body composition may make it easier to manage one's weight and ultimately reduce the risk of disease, by slowing the gain of fat -- especially abdominal fat.

So, there you have it. Three minutes of effort a day can be life-changing! Are you going to do the three-minute exercise challenge? If you do, let me know how you get on!