5-minute fitness workout for beginners

Got five minutes a day to up your fitness levels and feel healthy? This easy-to-follow 5-minute fitness workout is perfect for beginners.

Eddy Clarkson is a qualified personal trainer and Teenage Cancer Trust supporter. He’s also been through cancer himself and was treated on our unit in Leeds when he was diagnosed with leukaemia aged 20. Eddy’s created this video that includes modifications for those of you who can only do gentle exercise. Thanks Eddy!

Can a 5-minute workout really be effective?

A simple five-minute exercise routine can make a big difference to your physical and mental wellbeing. Setting aside just five minutes each day to work out can help to form healthy habit changes and boost confidence.

Getting set up

First, please do make sure you’re well enough to exercise – always check with your consultant or GP if you’re worried or unsure about anything.

This beginner’s 5-minute workout is a good place to start, and luckily it doesn’t require any special equipment, so it’s perfect for starting during quarantine.

Check out Eddy’s video below or keep reading for descriptions of the exercises.

1. Squat

“So, the first exercise is the squat and what you really want to focus on here is getting your feet shoulder width apart and then your knees should be tracking over your toes. The aim is to get that 90-degree bend in your knees, whilst also keeping your core really engaged. The main muscles you will be using here are your quadriceps and your glutes.

“To modify this exercise if you’re not so stable on your feet, if you get a chair behind you and slowly lower down and take a rest for a couple of seconds at the bottom and then go back up. You can always put cushions on top of the chair as well if you want to make it a little bit higher, just so you can control the movement better.”

2. Lunges

“The second exercise is the lunge. Take a big step forward so your back knee slowly taps the ground and floor and come back up. You should aim for a 90-degree bend in both knees but make sure that your knees do not pass your toe on the front leg.

“If this is uncomfortable, start in a fixed position, so take a big step forward and you can repeat the exercise on one side and remember to switch and do your other side as well.”

3. Press ups

“This will target your chest and your triceps. To set up, put your hands about shoulder width apart and keep your core engaged and keep a nice neutral spine. Slowly lower yourself down so your nose touches the ground.

“To modify go onto to all fours and do the same movement. This may just take a little bit of load off your arms and your wrists. If the modifications are too easy, move your knees back and do the same movement.”

4. The plank

“Get in the push-up position but only your forearms should be on the ground instead of your hands. Your elbows should be in line directly underneath your shoulders and your toes on the ground. Squeeze your glutes and tighten your abdominals and keep a nice neutral neck and spine. The aim is to get a straight line from your head to your toes and then hold the position.

“Some people may find it difficult on elbows – if that’s the case, move onto your forearms. To modify this exercise, go onto all fours and really concentrate on engaging your core and you can slowly progress out to the other exercises.”

5. The star jump

“This is an explosive exercise so crouch down into a ball jump up perform a star shape and land back on your feet. Make sure your knees are slightly bent when you land.

“Modification for this exercise is the jumping jack – this will reduce the impact on your knees and your ankles.”