Try out the ultimate minimalist workout

For those that travel regularly, whether it be on business or holiday, regular exercising can become something of a luxury. Hotels may not be equipped with adequate gyms, or you may feel like you simply do not have the time. Don't let such reasons become a barrier to getting in the way of a good old fashioned workout.

A long-forgotten exercise regime was created in the late 1950s by an exercise scientist by the name of Bill Orban, who was working for the Canadian Defense Department. Orban realised that Canadian pilots, stationed at remote access where gyms were unheard of, were gaining too much weight and losing too much fitness, so he devised what is known as the '5BX plan.'

The 5BX plan followed the ideal that it can be performed with zero equipment, is progressive, and can be adjusted to suit particular ages and fitness levels.

But what exactly does the 5BX plan comprise of?

  • Stretching
  • Sit-ups
  • Back extensions
  • Press-ups
  • Running on the spot

Of course, each of these exercises are all tried-and-tested classics that have formed the basis of many a workout plan, so it is easy to see why Orban included these in the 5BX.

Though the advice and routines detailed in the 5BX plan may seem a little antiquated, they are anything but. That's because, despite the 5BX plan being written over half a century ago, the human body and condition has not changed a great deal during that time.

In fact, much of the written guidance found within the yellowed pages of the 5BX plan bears more relevance today than it perhaps did even then. The perils of sitting for too long, well-documented in modern times, are hinted upon:

"Welcome an opportunity to walk; look for ways you can walk a few blocks rather than ways in which to avoid walking. Step out smartly and breathe deeply."

Brad Stulberg, a population health consultant, finds particular wisdom in the 5BX closing pages:

"When you start, defeat the desire to skip a day; then defeat all such desires as they occur. This exercise program has plenty of bite; the longer you do it the more you will enjoy it."

Stulberg found these words as particularly telling with regards to people who have made the act of getting fitter one of their great New Year's resolutions – one which, for so many, sadly falls away by the end of January.

As a regime, the 5BX is never going to be the Holy Grail of fitness plans to end all plans, but that isn't what it was designed to be. It is, however, an effective, easy workout for those pushed for equipment or time – and one that is still relevant.

Posted On 30/01/15