[This post is part of a series on my daily exercise and starting and keeping challenging habits. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]
First, from the New York Times article that got me started with them:
Ask a dozen physiologists which exercise is best, and youâ€™ll get a dozen wildly divergent replies. â€œTrying to chooseâ€ a single best exercise is â€œlike trying to condense the entire fieldâ€ of exercise science, said Martin Gibala, the chairman of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
But when pressed, he suggested one of the foundations of old-fashioned calisthenics: the burpee, in which you drop to the ground, kick your feet out behind you, pull your feet back in and leap up as high as you can. â€œIt builds muscles. It builds endurance.â€ He paused. â€œBut itâ€™s hard to imagine most people enjoyingâ€ an all-burpees program, â€œor sticking with it for long.â€
And sticking with an exercise is key, even if you donâ€™t spend a lot of time working out. The health benefits of activity follow a breathtakingly steep curve. â€œThe majority of the mortality-related benefitsâ€ from exercising are due to the first 30 minutes of exercise, said Timothy Church, M.D., who holds the John S. McIlhenny endowed chair in health wisdom at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.
I bolded the burpee parts. Yesterday I pointed out how to stick with doing burpees long-term (make them fun!). I’ll probably increase my number in time, but I’m in no hurry. As of now, I expect to do them until I can’t do them anymore. It’s one minute out of my day.
Also, my friend and I are doing burpees with push-ups.
- Begin in a standing position.
- Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground. (count 1)
- Extend your feet back in one quick motion to assume the front plank position. (count 2)Return to the squat position in one quick motion. (count 3)
- Return to an upright standing position. (count 4)
I do a push-up between steps 2 and 3. Here’s a video.
I had never heard of burpees before. They’re named after a guy named Burpee, who went to my alma mater according to Wikipedia
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the exercise was named in the 1930s for American physiologist Royal H. Burpee, who developed the Burpee test. He earned a PhD in Applied Physiology from Columbia University in 1940 and created the “Burpee” exercise as part of his PhD thesis.
Here’s another burpee video. If it doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will.
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