A micro workout is a simple spell of exercise that lasts just 1-5 minutes. Better than Micro Workouts: incidental exercise! Kaizen style! 2022 is going to be my Kaizen style year of improvements! Want to join me?
Indeed, micro workouts line up easily with the term “kaizen.” Kaizen is the Japanese word for “improvement,” which has been co-opted to mean “making tiny changes to a process to yield huge results.” I can think of so many areas that this can really work in.
The philosophy is that a small action, when repeated daily, can add up to something profound.
Without a doubt, this is the concept of the micro workout. While many people attempt to start 1-hour training programs to no avail, working out for just 5 minutes a day is far more achievable. Will the results of Kaizen style be as great? Not to begin with, no, but the point is that you’ll use this as a way to form new positive habits that you can then use to introduce more intense training.
Likewise, you can use micro workouts two, three, or five times a day, and that way, distribute your training throughout the day. The result is that you exercise a fair amount but in a far more palatable manner.
Moreover, your metabolism stays raised throughout the day, and you don’t undergo those long, unhealthy periods of uninterrupted inactivity.
Choosing to grab every bit of incidental exercise that is available to you and making it a habit can change your life in a low stress, satisfying discipline building way.
Micro Workouts Kaizen Style
But there’s a similar concept that is even more effective. That is to train as a part of your daily routine. In other words, you’re turning your regular activities into micro workouts. This is where you look for and find incidental exercise hiding around every bend. And the key? Grab it and go for it!
“Think of it as an antidote to every “go big or go home” motivational trope you’ve seen in your newsfeed. Kaizen is less about hustle and working more, and more about thoughtful adjustments, accepting failure, and applying learnings in order to work better.”Melody Wilding
For example, that means you’ll be performing calf raises on a curb while waiting for the bus, doing curls while carrying bags, or even doing tricep dips on the couch while watching television.
Incidental Exercise = Micro Workouts
This type of training completely solves the issue of time. You don’t have to “fit in” your exercise because you’re doing it at the same time as something you already are doing.
Better yet, it takes the idea of continually exercising throughout the day even further. Moreover, I believe the human body is actually created to be fit. We are not intended to go through long periods of complete inactivity!
But can it be as effective? That depends on your approach and your goals. For weight loss, calorie burn is calorie burn, no matter how we distribute the activity.
Incidental Exercise – Embrace Kaizen Style
For building and toning muscle, cumulative damage over a short period is often needed. That said, there are quick ways to accomplish this (such as with eccentric isometrics), and by understanding these concepts, you can work practical training into and around your regular routine.
So this little post with simple easy concepts is a short look at my fitness goals for 2020. If this intrigues, stay tuned, I will be diving deep into Kaizen style self-improvement over the next several weeks.
Why the Little Parts of Your Routine Are Most Important for Health
When people want to get fit and healthy, they will typically focus on a few “big” things. That means their diet for instance, and it means the amount they exercise.
Most of us will then conclude we need to exercise a little more, and eat a little less. Thus, we end up lifting weights or running a few times a week, and eating bland meals in the evenings.
But very often, this doesn’t result in the kind of results that you want to see. And why is that? It comes down to the fact that you will very often miss out on what actually matters more: the details. This is the “Kaizen” approach – making small changes in order to see huge results.
Why Workouts Often Don’t Work Out – But Micro Workouts Do
Here’s the problem with going for a run or lifting weights: that is 40 minutes three or four times a week. That’s maybe 160 minutes per week.
There are 10,080 minutes in a week. That is a tiny splash in the ocean!
And if you aren’t seeing the fitness gains you want to, then there is a good chance that the other aspects of your life aren’t particularly active.
Maybe you sit in an office at work. Maybe you drive to and from that office. And maybe your evenings are spent sitting on the couch watching TV.
Either way, you aren’t really moving much. Meaning you aren’t burning many calories and your metabolism is slow.
Simply adding a little exercise and eating a few less calories isn’t going to result in a body transformation when your lethargy is endemic!
Hence the need to embrace incidental exercise and micro workouts.
This is where Kaizen comes in: the process of focussing on the small details that add up to a LOT. For example, maybe you could start walking to and from the bus a stop further? That might only be a 6-minute walk but when you do it both ways, five times a week, it becomes 60 minutes of extra activity!
Likewise, you could decide to take the stairs instead of the lift, burning an extra 5 calories each time you do. That might add up to 40 a day, and 200 per week (assuming your lift is in your office and you use it at lunch).
Maybe you decide to take up one physical activity in the week – like a game of ball with the dog. Maybe you choose to get up 5 minutes earlier and stretch.