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Gym Closed? You Don't Need Exercise Equipment to Stay Fit, Study Shows

HealthDay News
by Steven Reinberg
Updated: Jan 8th 2021

new article illustration

FRIDAY, Jan. 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- If the pandemic has shut down your gym, you can still stay or get fit with a simple home exercise plan, researchers say.

The Canadian study was modeled on a fitness plan known as "5BX," or Five Basic Exercises, which was originally developed in the 1950s for the Royal Canadian Air Force. The plan doesn't depend on special equipment and can be adjusted to individual fitness levels.

"A cruel twist of the pandemic is that, at the height of the lockdown, the public health response has largely removed one barrier to fitness but worsened another. Many people have time to spare, but closures and physical distancing provisions have limited access to facilities and equipment," said lead study author Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University, in Ontario.

"Gym closures in some places will likely exacerbate the struggle that a lot of people seem to face in keeping fit," he said in a university news release.

The exercises in the fitness plan included calisthenics such as running in place, modified burpees [a squat thrust with an additional stand between reps] and squat jumps. Participants performed these exercises interspersed with light active recovery periods.

The 11-minute routine, which included a brief warm-up, does not demand high levels of motivation or "all out" efforts, the researchers noted.

After six weeks of training, three times per week, cardiorespiratory fitness was higher among those who followed the program, compared with those who didn't, according to the report.

"Our findings have relevance for individuals seeking practical, time-efficient approaches to at least maintain their fitness. The obvious advantage is that a workout of this nature can be done practically anywhere, in a time-efficient manner and without the need for specialized equipment," Gibala said.

The report was published in a recent issue of the International Journal of Exercise Science.

More information

For more on exercise and health, head to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: McMaster University, news release, Jan. 4, 2021