The workout routine that can save your life

I could have hurt myself this morning, but I decided against it.

I wanted to stay still, to drift back into sleep after the alarm sounded at 4:30 am because my husband thought that he needed his travel-alarm foghorn to start his morning shift.  Next time I’ll set my own, less jarring alarm and give him a brief slapping around instead.

Instead, I wobbled down the hallway as I usually do, made a strong cup of tea and got down to business.  I work out every day for 45 minutes before my incredibly sedentary 10+ hour shift.  It’s a four-day marathon, but it’s Monday, so I have a bit of sleep in the bank, and I promised myself that tonight I could brush, cuddle the kid and promptly stumble back into the Land of Nod.  (It’s likely that reality will prove this to be a lie.  Sometimes I live on a steady diet of delusion.)

I never used to work out in the morning.  I never used to get up early either.  Maybe you don’t want to do that, and who could blame you.  I didn’t either.  But you want to have the body and movement of a child, like my 65-year-old yoga teacher, who whips the hell out of us once a week.  She makes me feel both inferior and inspired.

Try five minutes.  Wake up five minutes early.  Just five, don’t get crazy and aim for more than that.  Do 5 minutes of exercise.  I do 60 crunches in that time.  Do 10 jumping jacks.  Reach up with both hands into a gentle stretch, then touch your toes (or knees).  Breath deeply.  There.  You’re all done.  Tomorrow curl a couple of soup cans for 5 minutes while you watch what the weather will be.  You can build your biceps while you decide what to wear.

I do my stomach exercises before bed, for five minutes or less.  I have great abdominal strength, and I know because in yoga class people 20 years younger than me were groaning when Ms. Lee beckoned us into a V, arms stretched forward, until time stood still.  I got to feel superior, if only for one moment.

Five minutes.  Do it tonight.  Do it tomorrow.  Who knows where it will lead?

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