I love science. We were talking about exercise while traveling last week and everyone gave some fantastic suggestion here. Around the same time, the New York Times wrote about a new, scientifically proven 7 minute workout that is as effective as a long run and working out with weights, doesn’t use any equipment (except your own body weight and a chair) and only takes 7 minutes.

Science is awesome. The full study is here.

Of course, one small caveat that the paper of record forgot to mention: you have to do it at like 100% V˙O2max which means you’re basically at the highest level of exertion — imagine sprinting through floor exercises for 7 minutes straight — most people can’t do it. But the study authors suggest an alternative. Just do the routine 2-3 times for a total of 21 minutes and you’ll get the same benefit. Do it 3-4 times a week and that’s enough to keep you healthy. So that’s just 60-80 minutes total, every week, without any equipment, gym fees, fancy moves, DVDs or a personal trainer yelling at you and can get stay in shape. Sold.

And if you are already super fit and can do this whole routine at your max heart rate level, then you’re even luckier — just do it once, about 7 minutes total and you’re done.

I asked my husband Drew to illustrate the steps for this post and he even made a handy desktop wallpaper you can download. (I have it on my laptop desktop now, my goal is to do this 3 times a week this month).

For each step you just do 15-20 reps. Aim for less than 30 seconds of rest between exercises.

For the 21 minute workout: do all the exercises (for 15-20 reps each) in order 2-3 times until you hit your time.

For the 7 minute workout: you do each exercise one time (for 15-20 reps each) at 100% V˙O2max (basically highest intensity) then you’re done.

JUMPING JACKS

WALL SIT

PUSH UPS

ABDOMINAL CRUNCHES

STEP UP ONTO A CHAIR

SQUAT

TRICEPS DIP ON A CHAIR

PLANK

HIGH KNEES RUNNING IN PLACE

LUNGE

PUSH UP & ROTATION

SIDE PLANK

Pinterest version: VERTICAL
Desktop wallpaper: 1440 x 900 DESKTOP