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That’s Intense! How 3 Minutes of Exercise Can Improve Your Health After 50

By Margaret Manning October 08, 2015 Health and Fitness

Quick show of hands, please: Who hates to go to the gym?

How many of you feel that the body you have now in your 50s or 60s is fixed and that there’s no chance of making a big difference anymore?

How many of you think that you have too many bad dietary habits to break or that your metabolism won’t respond to exercise anyway?

Final question: who thinks that, even if they wanted to exercise more, they just don’t have enough time?

What if I told you that doing just 3 minutes of exercise every day – 21 minutes a week – could radically change your health and possibly add many years to your life?

If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t thrive on going to the gym, who feels lethargic about fitness, or who is comfortable with your sedentary routines, it’s time for you to discover the benefits of short bursts of intense exercise. Let’s see how this works!

Michael Mosley, the man behind the “5:2 fast diet,” says that 3 minutes of high intensity exercise are better for you than a lengthier session in the gym. Mosley by the way, trained as a doctor before moving into journalism where he now hosts a science and health programme for the BBC. He calls this concept HIT (High Intensity Training) and it includes doing short bursts of intense exercise that are incorporated into your daily routine.

Mosley claims that this style of high intensity exercise is how our Paleolithic ancestors got their daily activity – by making short, very fast sprints – away from sabre tooth tigers, I suppose?

What Can You Really Do in Just 3 Minutes?

On a purely intellectual level, I can understand Mosley’s claim that just 3 minutes of exercise can make a big difference. My challenge comes when I try to think about what we can actually accomplish in this time. For example, most of us don’t have an exercise bike sitting in our living room. Here are a few ideas.

If you only have 3 minutes to spare, why not try running in place or skipping down the hallway? Or, if you have grandkids, maybe it would be fun to race them to the end of the garden and back a few times. You could also practice lifting weights or do a few pushups and sit-ups.

The main thing is to keep the intensity level up. If you feel like you could keep going for 10 minutes you’re probably not working out hard enough.

Regardless of which exercise you choose, set a timer for a specific time every day. This way you will be more likely to be consistent about your 3 minute workout program.

Oprah’s Featured 3-Minute Workout

If you prefer to be guided through your 3 minute workout, there is a fun option available on Oprah’s website by personal trainer Joel Harper. This workout doesn’t require any special equipment – just your muscles, your attention and 3 minutes of your time.

Maybe you’re rolling your eyes at the thought of doing a 3-minute workout. But here’s the thing – it’s so important to just get off the couch! It’s better to do simple, no-equipment workouts than to do nothing at all!

The first time I followed Joel’s 3 minute workout, I felt so energized! I knew immediately that I had done something great for my body and mind. Now, I’d like to challenge you to do the same. Let’s both set an alarm to go off every day at a certain time. While you’re working out, I will be right there next to you, cheering you on!

What are your thoughts on this? Have you tried the 3-minute Workout shown above? What are you willing to do to be more active and physically fit? Please leave a comment below and remember to like and share this article if you enjoyed it.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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