Waking up at odd hours, skipping breakfast or settling for a ‘brunch’—isn’t this the wonderful life of a university student? The irregularity of class schedules either makes mornings non-existent or a nightmare to overcome.
This was what my life had come to.
In addition, I have never been interested in sports or engage in any fitness activity, although my university has various such programs and related clubs. I would avoid going to the gym, even though some of my most timid friends have started to do so, indirectly encouraging me to do the same, and even though there are at least two gymnasiums in my vicinity. I believe it was due to my lack of confidence and a certain pride of not being obsessed with owning a perfect physical body or with weight loss.
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However, my health and energy levels were affected by a lack of physical exercise.
One day, I happened to stumble upon a particular mobile app called ‘7 Minute Workout’. A favourite YouTuber of mine had recently started incorporating it in his ultimate goal to improve his health and lifestyle.
The concept behind the app was first suggested by scientists and then enhanced by app developers—the ability to stay fit by combining 13 workout exercises in 7 minutes, with minimal equipment: a chair and an unobstructed wall. Every exercise uses up 30 seconds, with an interval of 10 seconds of rest among them. As a student who would consider herself to be ‘lazy’ in terms of maintaining her health and fitness, I was immediately attracted to the idea.
This small yet radical change in my daily routine proved to be rewarding.
I will be honest here: the first time I tried the workout, I felt like those 7 minutes were 7 minutes spent in hell. Yet somehow, I woke up earlier than usual; introducing a new habit does generate excitement and anticipation and I could not wait to get started. From that morning onwards, I never missed a single workout session.
In fact, my morning routine was transformed into a ‘kickstart’ ritual: it prepares me to face the productive day ahead. I decided on a regular wake-up time interval (8-9am), which also includes weekends, to make it easier to stick to, in my opinion. Keeping waking hours consistent also helps to maintain my 7-minute workout daily schedule, which I engage in after getting out of bed and before a fresh and cool morning shower. I feel that a varied and unstable time allocation for early morning activities would disrupt my motivation and I would not be as mentally prepared as I should every time I would get out of bed.
The last stage of my morning ritual is something that is often dismissed by students: breakfast. Indeed, the 7-minute workout compels me to have breakfast because it does require energy and strength to work out whether it lasts for 7 or 60 minutes. If I skip breakfast after a workout, I end up feeling lightheaded and weak.
Do take note that breakfast is different for everyone; while I am satisfied with chocolate milk and oats, someone else would rather have rice and chicken curry.
I am not interested in the ‘perfect’ body. I am not interested in losing weight. But I want to be healthy and stay fit. I want endurance. Think about it this way: when the zombies come, you would not want to be out of breath after only 1 minute of running for your life, would you?
This article is written and contributed by Daphnee Kwong Waye.