Fitness Fast
Fitness Fast

Acclaimed British actress Dame Helen Mirren is the envy of many women; not only does she have an incredible career but rocks a bikini in her 60s.

When she credited her figure to the 12-minute XBX workout, developed in the 1950s by the Royal Canadian Airforce, we had to check out what all the fuss was about.

You heard it right - 12 minutes a day.

The workout involves completing 10 simple exercises. There are various levels involved with this workout (based on your age), with charts to reference, which tell you how many repetitions of each exercise you should aim for within the time period.

Jennifer Birkhead, founder of Vivid Health and Fitness, says the beauty of this routine is that it is suitable for a wide range of people of all ages.

"It promotes movement of the body that helps with flexibility, strength, agility and stamina - all of which attribute to being functionally fit," she says. "The fact that you don't need much room or any equipment cancels out a couple of excuses people use when it comes to exercise."

"Everyone is busy these days so short workouts are a great solution as people are more likely to do them regularly," she adds. "Twelve minutes is achievable for everyone, no matter how busy you are and is also mentally achievable if you are just starting out with exercise. I believe short, sharp workouts to be more beneficial than endurance training as they don't put as much pressure on joints and ligaments for long durations."

And although it sounds too good to be true, Ms Birkhead says it really is possible to get fit by exercising for 12 minutes a day.

"The key to being fit is not so much how long you work out for but that you do it regularly," she says.

"There are also more aspects to fitness than just how long you can run for. One of these is flexibility, which I think this workout is great for. Also as you progress through the levels, you do extend yourself within the 12-minute timeframe."

Angela Garrick, physiotherapist at Sorrento Sports Physiotherapy says if you are aiming for the Olympics, you will have to exercise for more than 12 minutes a day but if you want a quick, easy morning routine that you can do in your living room, then the XBX workout is a good place to start.

"The idea of this 12-minute workout is that you're working all your major muscle groups within a 12-minute timeframe," she says. "This regime is effective because you don't need any equipment, you can start off light and increase the intensity at your own pace and most people will be able to complete all 10 exercises because they really are basic movements.

"The workout gets the heart rate up, warms up all your major muscle groups, stretches some tight areas and works key areas used in daily life.

"As you progress through their structured charts, some of the exercises still seem easy but try performing the exercise for the allotted one or two minute time and you will feel the burn."

The West Australian

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